After first being “shocked” by the news, MTSU sophomore Jordan Dodson said he became “very honored, humbled and thankful” to learn he had been named a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholar Awards.
Peggy Goldwater Clay, chair of the board of trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation and daughter of the late U.S. senator from Arizona, announced in late March that 282 sophomores and juniors at colleges and universities nationwide are 2012 recipients.
Dodson, 20, who has a 3.97 GPA as a double major in professional chemistry and professional mathematics and a minor in biology, received a two-year, $15,000 Goldwater Scholarship.
“This is a pretty significant award,” said Dodson, a lifelong Murfreesboro resident and 2010 Oakland High School graduate. “I’m so thankful for the great people in the Honors College who help students. They are very supportive and a great joy to be with.
“In terms of recognition, this award will be recognized at any graduate schools because it is a national award. It will be very helpful in applying for graduate school.”
Dodson does not have a job. He studies an average of nine hours a day and is able to perform his research in his room at home. He said the annual $7,500 Goldwater Scholarship will be in addition to the Hope Lottery, Merit Scholarship and biology and chemistry scholarship awards he receives.
“I always say, ‘School is my job,’” Dodson said. “My tuition is already paid. I’m making similar to what somebody with a part-time job and in college. With the Goldwater, you can’t have a job that interferes with your studies. They want you to focus on your academic work.”
“Jordan has outstanding scientific abilities,” said Dr. Preston MacDougall, chemistry professor and Dodson’s mentor. ”When his curiosity leads him to hypotheses that cannot be conveniently tested with conventional resources, Jordan seeks out other research methods to accomplish the same goal.
“In addition to his intellectual and scientific abilities, Jordan has great people skills that enable him to work well with others. When students, faculty, staff or administrators meet Jordon, they always say, ‘What a great guy!’”
Dodson recently traveled to the Symposium on Molecular Structure and Dynamics in Dallas, where his poster titled “A Computational Investigation of the Anomeric Effect and the Generalized Anomeric Effect” received high praise from university scholars, many of whom assumed he was a graduating senior, Honors College Dean Dr. John Vile said.
This semester, he is taking a graduate-level applied computational science course that is part of the computational science Ph.D. program.
While Dodson definitely studies, he said he enjoys golf. He played at Oakland, where he shot in the 70s and has a low handicap. He also briefly led the Rubik’s Cube Solving Club. He loves to play chess, is a dapper dresser (including bow ties and sport coats) even for class. He is engaged to Brittany Robertini, a junior biology major at MTSU.
Dodson joins a growing list of Goldwater Scholars.
Evan Matthew Craig, a sophomore Buchanan Fellow from Arlington, Tenn., who is majoring in biology and received a Goldwater in 2011, has a second year of support, Vile said.
Alumnus Taylor Barnes was MTSU’s first Goldwater recipient in 2007 and also recommended by MacDougall.
Dodson is the son of Dewey and Linda Dodson of Murfreesboro.
Heidi Klumpe of Murfreesboro, the daughter of MTSU physics and astronomy professor Dr. Eric Klumpe and his wife, Dr. Marynelle Klumpe, received a Goldwater Scholar Award. She is a North Carolina State University student.
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by public law on Nov. 14, 1986. The scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, the website for the program states.
The foundation has bestowed more than 6,200 scholarships worth $39 million.
MTSU’s scholarships are coordinated through Laura Clippard in the Undergraduate Fellowship Office in the Honors College.
To apply for a Goldwater Scholarship for 2013-14, contact Laura Clippard in the Honors College by calling 615-898-5464 or email Laura.Clippard@mtsu.edu.