Fairfield University student awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarship


Image: Matthew SmylieMatthew Smylie, a junior at Fairfield University, has received a scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier award for undergraduate students who plan to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences or engineering.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to pay tribute to Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the conservative, five-term Republican from Arizona. The scholarship program was created to foster and encourage excellence in mathematics and science.

Goldwater Scholars will receive up to $7,500 towards the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board during the 2002-03 school year.

Smylie, a native of Glencoe, Ill., holds a double major in physics and German. A Dean's List student, he was one of four juniors named to Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious national honor society, and has served as president of the German Club and of Alpha Mu Gamma, a chapter of the national foreign language honor society. Last summer, he remained on campus to conduct research under the direction of physics professor Nancy Haegel, Ph.D. As part of a five-student team, Smylie worked on a variety of projects involving semiconductor physics and infrared detectors.

According to Haegel, Smylie possesses "ability, curiosity, creativity, new ideas and a passionate interest in how the world works" - characteristics, she said, that will guarantee his success in graduate school and beyond. "Matt thrives on the challenge of research work and can quickly make the connections between his work and his classroom studies," Haegel said.

A total of 1,155 sophomores and juniors from nearly 500 post-secondary institutions across the country were nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship awards last August. Smylie was among the 309 recipients nationwide. Other Connecticut universities with Goldwater Scholars are: Yale University, Wesleyan University and Trinity College.

Goldwater scholars must meet impressive academic qualifications. They are often the recipients of post-graduate distinctions; for example, recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 44 Rhodes Scholarships and 39 Marshall Awards.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 13, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 226