KU News Release

March 31, 2011
Contact: Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, University Honors Program, 785-864-4225

KU juniors win Goldwater scholarship, honorable mention

Logan James Wille

Scott Archer Mitchell

More Information

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas junior researching solutions for storing renewable energy has won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics. A second KU nominee preparing for a biomedical career received an honorable mention.

Logan James Wille, a physics major from Lawrence, becomes the 49th KU student to receive a Goldwater scholarship since 1989 when the scholarships were first awarded.

Scott Archer Mitchell, a junior from Salina, a received honorable mention. Mitchell is a chemical engineering major who is simultaneously completing a master’s degree in bioengineering.

The Goldwater Foundation trustees announced March 30 that 275 scholarships had been awarded for the 2011-12 academic year. The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to $7,500 annually. Honorable mention is a recognition of excellence.

“I am proud to congratulate Logan and Scott, who represent the best among Kansas’ young scholars and scientists,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Their research focuses on renewable energy and new medical treatments, respectively, which are both areas that have the potential to create prosperity and improve our quality of life.”

Recipients were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,095 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by their colleges and universities nationwide. The University Honors Program coordinates the Goldwater application process at KU.

Wille plans to earn a doctorate in condensed matter physics for a career in research and teaching. As an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Judy Wu, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, he is investigating supercapacitors — devices that are key for the advancement of technology and the use of renewable energy. Wille has built two Atomic Layer Deposition systems to test and find solutions for problems that arise with his supercapacitor project. He is seeking to increase the surface area of the electrodes needed while decreasing the distance between the electrodes and the mass of the supercapacitor to boost energy density.

Wille was one of 22 students selected nationally in summer 2010 for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program from EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). He was assigned to the Kansas Center for Solar Energy Research, part of ESPCoR Kansas, an interdisciplinary unit funded by the National Science Foundation. He is the son of James and Marianne Wille and a graduate of Lawrence High School.

Mitchell’s career goals are focused on collaborating with researchers to produce new clinical tools for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, years before symptoms appear. He plans to earn a medical degree and a doctoral degree specializing in biomedical engineering. Mitchell is a member of the University Honors Program. He is the son of Mark and Kathi Mitchell and a graduate of Salina High School South.

Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career and faculty recommendations.

Goldwater scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious postgraduate fellowship programs. Seventy-seven former Goldwater Scholars have received Rhodes scholarships, 108 Marshall scholarships, 98 Churchill Scholarships and other distinguished fellowships.

Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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