The amount of scholarships available for college students often seems vast and ripe for the taking, but there are specific scholarships that hold more weight than others. The Goldwater Scholarship is one such award. One of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the US, the Goldwater Scholarship Program seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors in continuing their education as mathematicians, engineers, or scientists and was recently awarded to IU junior and physics major Julian Gass.
“It was such an honor,” Gass said. “I had applied for the scholarship last year but was pretty unprepared for the amount of work it required. This year, I was definitely more prepared. I managed to budget my time and turn in what I felt was a pretty strong application.”
The application process involved multiple essays where Gass had to detail why he chose his area of study, how he imagined his future career, and the extent of his undergraduate research, all while working in Geneva, Switzerland, and taking graduate-level physics courses online.
“There were a lot of sleepless nights and even though I was better prepared, I still submitted the application just under the deadline,” Gass said. “Applying to something like this requires a lot of self-motivation and determination. It was hard balancing everything, but in the end, it was definitely worth it.”
Gass is very grateful to have received the Goldwater Scholarship, citing both his drive and a few key people in his life as factors in helping him get this far.
“This is one of the most competitive national STEM research scholarships,” Gass said. “And I’m lucky that I had so many things—like research opportunities and a few professors who endorsed me—under my belt by the time I applied. I’m just really thankful for the people in my life who helped me get this far and pointed me in the right direction. I came to IU without a lot of connections, but I had people in my corner from my parents to my professors to the people in the Herbert Presidential Scholars office.”
In addition to receiving the Goldwater Scholarship, Gass was selected as a Herbert Presidential Scholar when he began his academics at IU in 2016. Selected as one of the top students in Indiana, Gass’ talent and potential was apparent early on. “We were thrilled to hear that Julian was named a Goldwater Scholar this academic year,” says Julia Jennings, university-wide coordinator for the Herbert Presidential Scholarship and director of Community & School Partnerships—a program of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs. “Julian’s nomination as a Herbert Presidential Scholar showed incredible high school academic achievement and promise that he’s continued to demonstrate here at IU and is evidenced by this national recognition as a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. We look forward to following Julian’s academic and professional career.”
Gass eventually hopes to go to graduate school, shifting his concentration from experimental to theoretical physics, and eventually teaching physics at a research university like IU.