FSU sophomore chosen for Goldwater Scholarship, premier award for math, science, engineering majors

Rebecca Stone (photo: Melissa Meschler)

A Florida State University student majoring in chemical engineering is the recipient of a renowned Goldwater Scholarship, awarded each year to some of the nation’s most talented college undergraduates.

Rebecca Stone (photo: Melissa Meschler)

Rebecca Stone, a sophomore from Fort Walton Beach, learned last week that she has been selected for the highly competitive scholarship—the nation’s premier award for college sophomores and juniors who are passionate about research careers in the math, science and engineering fields.

The award, given to 300 students nationwide each year, covers expenses including tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Stone will receive the award for two years.

“Since candidates must be nominated by their institutions, the entire applicant pool is quite elite,” said Jamie Purcell, director of FSU’s Office of National Fellowships (www.onf.fsu.edu), which works to match top students with nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships.

“Rebecca’s win is all the more impressive when you consider that only about one-third of the coveted awards go to sophomores each year. To win a Goldwater, you must be exceptional in mathematics, science or engineering, be involved in challenging research, and demonstrate a commitment to and potential for a promising research career. That’s tough to prove in less than two years, but Rebecca has done it quite well.”

Another FSU student, sophomore physics major Alan Kuhnle of Oxford, Miss., received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Foundation, which awards the Goldwater Scholarships. He is eligible to re-apply as a junior next year.

Sir Harold Kroto
Sir Harold Kroto

At FSU, Stone has received a research opportunity that many undergraduates can only dream about: working alongside a Nobel Laureate. For the past three semesters, she has conducted nanotechnology research in the laboratory of Sir Harold Kroto, FSU’s Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry and a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

“I am delighted to learn of Rebecca’s selection for a Goldwater Scholarship,” Kroto said. “She has consistently shown great initiative and an extremely high level of understanding. She has made a significant contribution to the field of nanoscience with her approach to the visualization of nanomaterials, and has established some new methodology for the design of self-assembling biological fibers.”

Stone already has compiled an impressive academic résumé during her time at FSU. She is a member of the university’s Honors Program, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Lady Spirithunters and Baptist Collegiate Ministries. She also is active in Golden Key International Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.

Visit www.act.org/goldwater to learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship.

Rebecca Stone isn’t the only member of her family to attract attention for her accomplishments while at FSU. Her older sister Amanda, who will graduate this semester with a 4.0 GPA, will be attending Oxford University in England in the fall after winning a $23,000 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. At Oxford, she will pursue a master’s degree in African studies. (Read more about Amanda Stone’s accomplishments at www.fsu.com/pages/2007/12/05/rotary_scholar.html).