Aaron Seidel, a senior geoscience major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has been named
a winner of the Goldwater Scholarship, becoming the eighth IUP student to win
The Goldwater Scholarship, which was first awarded in
1989, honors Senator Barry Goldwater and was designed to foster and encourage
outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural
sciences, and engineering. It is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type
in these fields.
The award will cover Seidel’s expenses for the 2018-19
school year. He is the only winner among the 22 Pennsylvania recipients who is
a student at a school in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
“I worked very hard and I gave my best effort to the
application process,” Seidel said. “It feels good to be recognized for my hard
Seidel, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is a member of
the Cook Honors College at IUP. He is mentored by faculty members Greg
Mount, Department of Geoscience, and John Benhart, chair of the Department of Geography and Regional Planning.
“Aaron's intellectual curiosity and commitment to his
academic work are commendable and are key
aspects of his success at IUP,” Benhart
said. “I am not surprised by his selection as a Goldwater Scholar, because his
approach and performance in my work with him have always been superlative.”
Seidel has already earned enough credits for a
bachelor’s degree in Geoscience, but he is also halfway through the coursework
for a bachelor’s in applied mathematics and has recently begun classes in
environmental engineering. He plans to graduate from IUP in about two and a
half years with three degrees.
“Aaron’s resiliency, tenacity, dedication, and
willingness to learn motivates me to be a better scientist and educator,” Mount
said. “I couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments and how he has grown as
a scholar, and I can’t wait to see his work and successes as he moves forward.”
While at IUP, Seidel has excelled not just in the
classroom, but has demonstrated a commitment to community. Last year, he began
a project to collect unused textbooks and ship them to Africa so students in
impoverished areas can learn about math, science, technology, and other areas.
So far, his organization has sent more than 100,000 books to Africa.
“I wish Aaron the best,” Benhart said. “I know that he
has set many more goals for his academic career.”
Seidel joins previous IUP Goldwater Scholarship
winners Kara McClain (nursing), 2016; Dan O’Hara (geoscience), 2013; Kelsi
Lindblad (biology), 2010; Elizabeth Paladin Jeffries (chemistry), 2007; Kristin
Juhasz (biology and anthropology), 2006; Thomas Baker (chemistry), 2004; and
Brigid Mooney Rotigel (mathematics), 2003.
According to its website, the Goldwater Scholarship
program is designed to help alleviate the shortage of highly qualified
scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in the United States. Goldwater
officials also note that recent Goldwater scholars have been awarded 91 Rhodes
scholarships, 131 Marshall awards, 150 Churchill scholarships, and
numerous other distinguished awards.