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UK Student from Erlanger Wins Goldwater Scholarship

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of John H. (Jack) Challis
John H. (Jack) Challis

Challis, the son of Richard and Emily Challis of Erlanger, was one of 300 students nationwide awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship this year. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,093 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

 

April 2, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- John H. (Jack) Challis, a University of Kentucky junior majoring in physics and mathematics, has won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship worth about $7,500.

Challis, the son of Richard and Emily Challis of Erlanger, was one of 300 students nationwide awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship this year. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,093 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by Congress in 1986 to honor the former Arizona U.S. Senator who served the nation for 30 years. In its 15-year history, 3,962 scholarships worth about $39 million have been awarded.

The scholarship covers expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for students pursuing careers in mathematics and the natural sciences, as well as many engineering fields.

Challis, a 2000 graduate of the Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills, has a 4.0 grade point average at UK.

To compete for the Goldwater Scholarship, Challis chose a research problem in lasers with Ganpathy Murthy, his faculty adviser in physics.

A Singletary Scholar at UK, Challis hopes to earn a doctorate in theoretical physics, then teach at a university and conduct research in water filtration methods.
He said he became interested in water filtration systems “when I learned in high school how many people suffer from diseases attributed to contaminated water.”

Challis said two Villa Madonna teachers, Sister Mary Rabe and Sister Nancy Kordenbrock, helped him learn about the problems associated with contaminated water by analyzing samples of local lake water.

Challis was encouraged to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship by John Christopher, a physics professor who is the UK faculty representative for the Goldwater competitions. Schools select up to four applicants to submit to the national competition.

Challis was the valedictorian for his senior class at Villa Madonna and was a member of the school’s academic team. At UK, he is co-president of the UK Math Club and is a member of Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity.


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