Catherine Ryczek ’21 has been named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar for the 2019-20 academic year. She is among 496 undergraduate sophomores and juniors from across the U.S. to receive the Goldwater, the premier national undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.
Ryczek said, “Being selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship means the world to me. It tells me that I am doing something right and that all of the hard work that I have been putting into research is paying off. More than that, it reaffirms my desire to continue to work toward obtaining a Ph.D. after Hamilton with the ultimate goal of becoming a physics professor at a college or university.”
Ryczek is a physics major and computer science minor. In 2018 she was a summer research grant recipient and worked with Assistant Professor of Physics Kristen Burson on the project “Assessing Monomer and Aggregate Populations in Squaraine-Based Organic Solar Cells. Ryczek presented her research at the APS March Meeting in Boston and at the 8th Annual New York Six Undergraduate Research Conference. “Professor Burson has been an amazing mentor for me over the past two years and her constant support really helped to make this possible,” Ryczek said.
Hometown: Phillipsburg, N.J.
High school: Moravian Academy
At Hamilton, Ryczek is a computer science teaching assistant and was a physics lab teaching assistant last fall. A Dean’s List student, she is the recipient of the College’s William M. Bristol, Jr. Scholarship, awarded to entering students with strong academic records and demonstrated proficiency in communication.
She has received academic achievement awards including the Brockway Prize for the member of the first-year class who has the best academic record; the Charles A. Dana Prize Scholarship awarded in recognition of academic achievement, character, and leadership; and the Phi Beta Kappa Book Prize awarded to students who are likely to become candidates for Phi Beta Kappa.
From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 443 academic institutions to compete for the 2019 Goldwater scholarships.
Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed 8,628 scholarships worth approximately $68 million.