1. K-State home
  2. »DCM
  3. »K-State News
  4. »News
  5. »2015
  6. »University nominates four students for Goldwater Scholarship

K-State News

K-State News
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Dr North
Manhattan, KS 66506


University nominates four students for Goldwater Scholarship

Friday, Jan. 30, 2015



MANHATTAN — Kansas State University has nominated four students for the 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The nominees are Aaron Messerla, Manhattan; Katherine Johnson, McPherson; Joshua Nelson, Salina; and Lauren Komer, Shawnee.

Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater from Arizona, the scholarship is awarded to nearly 300 undergraduate students across the country every year. Awardees receive up to $7,500 annually for college-related expenses. The purpose of the Goldwater Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. 

With 71 Goldwater scholars to date, Kansas State University ranks first among the nation's 500 state-supported universities in the number of scholars.

Messerla, a sophomore in mathematics and music, is working with David Auckly, professor of mathematics, on a dance program that depicts a specific class of geometric shapes using ropes. He is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon math honor society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He also is a mathematics department I-Center Scholar and a member of the university's Concert Band and Cat Band. He has received a College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship, Putnam Scholarship, Fort Riley Combined Scholarship, James R. Foster Jr. Memorial Arts and Sciences Scholarship, Thomas L. and Elouise J. Miller Scholarship for Excellence in Mathematics, Riley County 4-H Foundation Scholarship and the Mary Lou Gibbs State 4-H Scholarship. A 2012 graduate of Riley County High School, Riley, he is the son of Dave and Dawn Messerla, Manhattan. 

Johnson, a junior in microbiology, is working with Bradley Olson, assistant professor of biology. They are researching multicellular evolution using algae as a model system to understand the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity. She is a member of the Ecological Genomics Journal Club and the Microbiology Club. Johnson received a College of Art & Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship, Kansas Scholars Scholarship and a Fairchild Scholarship. A 2012 graduate of McPherson High School, she is the daughter of Robert and Kelli Johnson, Wichita

Nelson, a junior in physics, is working with Carlos Trallero, assistant professor of physics, in the James R. Macdonald Laboratory, on developing new techniques to produce usable high-energy, ultrafast laser pulses. Nelson is vice president of the Jardine Hall Governing Board and an Eagle Scout. He received a College of Arts & Sciences Research Scholarship, 2014 K-State Research Experience for Undergraduates and Dane G. Hansen Student Scholarship. A 2012 graduate of Salina South High School, he is the son of Dennis and Mary Nelson, Salina. 

Komer, a junior in biology, is working with Mary Cain, associate professor of psychological sciences. They are researching how environmental factors affect certain neurobiological mechanisms to explain why some people develop anxiety or depression disorders and others do not. Komer is a member of Phi Sigma Pi, a national honors fraternity; the Kansas State University Marching Band; and the Cat Band. She received a Putnam Scholarship, K-State Marching Band Scholarship, June Hull Sherrid Scholarship from the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center, Undergraduate Research Scholarship, K-State Alumni Legacy Scholarship and Mark Chapman Scholarship. A 2012 graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, she is the daughter of Joe Komer, Shawnee, and Libby Feyerharm, Lenexa.

Students interested in learning more about competing for future Goldwater awards or other scholarships can contact Jim Hohenbary at jimlth@k-state.edu.


Jim Hohenbary


Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program

News tip

Manhattan,McPherson, Riley, Salina, Shawnee and Wichita

Written by

Lauren Meehan

At a glance

Four Kansas State University students have been nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship.