Wheaton College Students Named Honorable Mentions for Goldwater Scholarship

April 11, 2017

Wheaton College junior April Futch and sophomore Benjamin Hess were recently named Honorable Mentions for the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship honors academic excellence among mathematics, science, and engineering students and is one of the most prestigious undergraduate academic awards in the nation.

Futch is a physics major from Chiang Mai, Thailand, with future plans to pursue a Ph.D. in particle physics. She currently works with Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Darren Craig to utilize computer simulations to research instabilities in plasma configurations.

“It has been amazing to watch April dive into her research on computer simulations of high temperature plasmas,” Craig said. “She is an exceptional student and has already presented her first results at a national plasma physics conference.”

This summer, Futch will participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Indiana University to study particle physics before returning to Wheaton to complete her honors thesis. At Wheaton, she also plays euphonium in the Symphonic Band and is a cabinet member in the Society of Physics Students.

Hess is a geology major from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. At Wheaton, he has worked with Professor of Geology Dr. Jeffrey Greenberg to study the Harney Peak Granite intrusion in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Hess was also recently awarded a competitive summer research internship with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

“Benjamin possesses the drive and aptitude of an advanced graduate student,” Greenberg said. “His work with me and his peers on geochemical investigations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, represent a strong beginning as a lead researcher.”

After graduating from Wheaton, Hess hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in geochemistry.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program was established by Congress in 1986 in honor of United States Senator Barry Goldwater to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. This year, 1,286 students from 470 schools were nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship. 240 students won scholarships and 307 were chosen as Honorable Mentions.