Engineer Professor New Goldwater Scholarship Mentor

July 19, 2022

News Release — July 19, 2022 — Ryan Berke, a mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor at Utah State University, is the school’s new Goldwater scholarship mentor.

For decades, the mentorship role has been informally filled by physics professor David Peak. Thanks to Peak’s dedication, Utah State consistently ranks in the top 25 of the over 600 universities with at least one Goldwater scholarship recipient. As Peak nears retirement, the university is now formalizing the role to ensure the momentum continues.

The Goldwater scholarship is a prestigious recognition that provides financial support to undergraduate researchers. Thanks to the rich research opportunities available to USU students, Utah State consistently ranks in the top 25 of the over 600 universities with at least one Goldwater scholarship recipient

The Goldwater scholarship is a prestigious recognition that provides financial support to undergraduate researchers. Thanks to the rich research opportunities available to USU students, Utah State consistently ranks in the top 25 of the over 600 universities with at least one Goldwater scholarship recipient

The Goldwater Scholarship was founded by Congress in 1986 to honor the service of Senator Barry Goldwater and provides financial support to undergraduate researchers in science, math, and engineering.

“The money is great, but more importantly it’s a really prestigious national award that’s been around for decades,” Berke said. “It really does signal that these are some of the next leaders in research. The winners are students who decided early that they are committed to a research career and are willing to work for it.”

Institutions can submit four applicants for the scholarship each year. In the most recent round, three of USU’s applicants received the award. Students from Utah State’s College of Science have been especially successful candidates over the years and as an engineering professor, Berke wants to increase the number of engineering students who participate.

“Among the things I'm hoping to do in this new role is, number one, to get more engineers to apply for it while still supporting science and math,” he said. “Number two is to get more engineers involved in undergraduate research during their freshman and sophomore years so they can already have some research experience on their resume by the time students apply for the scholarship.”

Ryan Berke, a mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor at Utah State University, is the school’s new Goldwater scholarship mentor. His role will be to prepare Utah State students to be competitive applicants for the scholarship program.

Ryan Berke, a mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor at Utah State University, is the school’s new Goldwater scholarship mentor. His role will be to prepare Utah State students to be competitive applicants for the scholarship program.

Recruitment for participation in the next scholarship round will begin in August. To participate, students should be entering their sophomore or junior year, have a GPA of at least 3.85, and be engaged in undergraduate research. Potential candidates will be coached throughout their fall semester on how to prepare a competitive application.

Only the top four finalists will be submitted to the national competition, but Berke also wants to help all candidates complete competitive applications for university undergraduate research grants to ensure they receive some kind of research support from the experience.

In addition to his work as the Goldwater Scholarship Mentor, Berke chairs the selection committee for the College of Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Program. He also regularly reviews applications for USU’s Undergraduate Research Fellows and Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities programs.

Interested students can contact Berke directly via email: ryan.berke@usu.edu.

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Writer: Matilyn Mortensen, matilyn.mortensen@usu.edu, 435-797-7512

Contact: Ryan Berke, ryan.berke@usu.edu