Award Information


The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship offers one- and two-year awards to college juniors and seniors who intend to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, or engineering. Awards range up to a maximum of $7,500 annually, covering eligible expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

“Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences… My faith in the future rests squarely on the belief that man, if he doesn’t first destroy himself, will find new answers in the universe, new technologies, new disciplines, which will contribute to a vastly different and better world in the twenty-first century… To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.”

Barry M. Goldwater, United States Senator from Arizona

Visit the Goldwater scholarships website.


NOTE: WSU will nominate students following the WSU review process. Students may not apply directly to the Goldwater Foundation.

For detailed eligibility requirements, please see the Goldwater webpage. In general, students should:

  1. Be a United States citizen, a permanent resident, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, a United States national.
  2. Have a college grade-point average of at least “B” (or the equivalent) and be in the upper fourth of his or her class.
  3. Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior during academic year of application (defined as two years or one year of undergraduate study remaining after application year).
  4. Intend to pursue a research career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

At Washington State University, competitive students generally have high grade point averages (typically >3.8) and research experience. The research experience most often includes at least one of the following: some experience outside of WSU, presentations locally and nationally, publications, or other evidence of effective work. Most students will be seeking a Ph.D., but other terminal degrees such as MD/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D., etc may also qualify if the program is tied to long term research interests.


The WSU internal deadline is December 1.

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Applying for a Goldwater

To prepare to submit an application, students should:

  1. Carefully review the goals and criteria of the Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. A copy of questions contained in the Goldwater application is available on their website.
  2. You will need three letters of recommendation. These will be from individuals who are familiar with your potential as a future leader in science, math, and engineering research. All of your references must be scientists or engineers. Cultivate relationships with faculty and other scientists and engineers so that they can get to know you.
  3. Plan on a research career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.
  4. Engage in undergraduate research at the earliest possible time. (Your first year at WSU is not too early!) To learn more about undergraduate research go to the website for Office of Undergraduate Research. You may also take advantage of their undergraduate research peer mentoring program to discuss the research process with a mentor who is an expert in undergraduate research.
  5. Seek every opportunity to present or publish your research, or in some way expand your research portfolio. Present every spring at SURCA. Apply for summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs or other competitive summer research programs.
  6. Maintain a high GPA (see above), particularly in your major.
  7. Consider enrolling in WRIT 311, Composing and Evaluation Strategies, to prepare for writing a personal statement.
  8. Attend a WSU Goldwater workshop as well as other workshops provided by the Distinguished Scholarships program.
  9. Schedule a meeting with the Director of Distinguished Scholarships program.

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Applying for a Goldwater Scholarship is a process. Throughout, you will gain valuable insights into your strengths and goals. The WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program will provide you support throughout the process.

  • Step One: Gather information.

    Preferred Deadline: October 25
    1. Attend the WSU Goldwater workshop: If you are unable to attend the workshop, we still want to help! Send an email to to schedule a meeting.
    2. Register: Go to the Goldwater website and open an account by going to “Apply now” at the top of the page. You will need to provide your name and email address and you will be asked to select a user name and password.
    3. Verify your email: You will receive an email from You will be required to access the link provided in the email. You will then enter the email attached to your Goldwater account. You can now log into your account to complete your student profile.
    4. Student profile: You will be asked to complete your student profile. After completing the student profile you will be able to access the student overview page and you will be able to complete your pre-application.
  • Step Two: Select your references and complete the pre-application.

    Preferred Deadline: October 25
    1. Pre-application: From the student overview page access the PRE-Application. Complete the information requested on this page. The information can be saved and returned to at a later time. The final step is “Complete and Lock”. After selecting this option you will no longer be able to return to the pre-application. IMPORTANT: Your pre-application must be approved by the Distinguished Scholarships Program personnel before you are able to complete the full application.
    2. You will receive an email from the campus representative indicating whether or not you can continue the full application process.
    3. Selection of three references who can evaluate your potential as a leader in a STEM research career are essential to the success of your application. All references should be individuals in STEM fields with the qualifications to evaluate you. If you are unsure about your selection of references, you should schedule a meeting with either the Director of Distinguished Scholarships or the Goldwater faculty representative. Your references should be contacted at least one month before the deadline.
    4. Information on references is available on the Distinguished Scholarships website and on the Goldwater website under “Faculty Recommenders”
  • Step Three: Transcripts.

    Deadline: December 1
    1. Request Transcripts: Request official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions except WSU and have them mailed to the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program, PO Box 644519, Pullman, WA 99164-4519.
    2. Obtain an unofficial transcript from WSU and email it to with “Goldwater: your name” in the subject line.
  • Step Four: Complete the application.

    Deadline: December 1
    1. Letters of Recommendation: Request letters of recommendation from your references. Completed letters should be sent as an email attachment to with “Goldwater: your name” written in the subject line. Reference letters must be sent by December 1. Please note: All three of your selected references will receive an email from the Distinguished Scholarships program/Goldwater Faculty representative on writing a Goldwater letter of reference. This email will be sent around October 21, or when your references are selected, whichever date is later.
    2. Application: After approval of your pre-application the student overview page in your account will now allow you to access the full application. Complete this application. A copy of questions contained in the Goldwater application is available on their website.
    3. Research essay: Write your research essay following the page, font, and margin instructions on the Goldwater website. Upload your research essay by the December 1 deadline.
    4. Permanent resident: If your citizenship status is Permanent Resident, you are required to provide a copy of your permanent resident card and upload it to the Goldwater website. (Goldwater no longer requires a letter of intent to become a citizen).
    5. Meet the internal deadline: The internal deadline for completion of the application is December 1, or, if December 1 falls on a weekend, the Monday immediately following.
  • Step Five: Committee selects WSU Goldwater nominees.

    Check your email for the results of the committee evaluation (late December).
    1. Application will be evaluated: Applications will be evaluated by the WSU Barry Goldwater Selection Committee. Applicants will be notified in late December as to the outcome of their applications. Up to 4 students will be nominated by WSU. Applications will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria:
      1. Academic Achievement (grades, level of courses, awards, scholarships)
      2. Progress toward research goals (research activities, career goals, course work, presentations and publications)
      3. Research Essay (technical content, organization, grammar, references, research proposed)
      4. Letters of recommendation (commitment to research, intellectual curiosity, potential for research contributions)
    2. Wait to be notified: All students will be notified as to the outcome of the committee evaluation process. If your application was selected to compete for the Goldwater Scholarship you should continue to step six below. If your application was not selected and you are a sophomore than you are encouraged to apply again.
    3. All applicants invited: All applicants and their references will be guests at an invitation-only Distinguished Scholarship Applicants Reception event in March.
  • Step Six: WSU Goldwater nominees revise and submit their application.

    Deadline: middle of January
    1. Revise your application: WSU nominees will have the opportunity to revise their applications and research essay based on feedback from the selection committee and other faculty.
    2. Finalize your Research Essay: All changes to the research essay should be completed 7-10 days prior to the Barry Goldwater Foundation deadline and uploaded to the website.
    3. Finalize your application: All changes to the application should be completed 7-10 days prior to the Barry Goldwater Foundation deadline and uploaded to the website.
    4. Your references and transcripts will be uploaded by the director of Distinguished Scholarships.
    5. Await Notification: Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions are typically notified in April. Scholars and Honorable Mentions should contact the Distinguished Scholarships office to have their photo taken.
    6. The names of Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mention winners from WSU will be listed on the Program’s website and in permanent displays at the Distinguished Scholars Gallery in the Compton Union Building (CUB) on the Pullman campus.
    7. The entire university community is invited to the Distinguished Scholars Celebration! event in October. Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mention winners will be recognized and given a unique WSU Distinguished Scholar pin.

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Prior Cougar recipients of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship have included:

YearFirst (& Middle) NameLast NameMajor(s)Campus
(If Not Pullman)
Honorable Mention?
View Jacob Buursma's news release
View Stevie Fawcett's news release
Stevie FawcettMicrobiology and SpanishPullman
View Thomas Ballinger's news release
ThomasBallingerGenetics and Cell Biology, Music
View John Bussey's news release
JohnBusseyMaterials Science EngineeringPullman
View Kalli Stephens' news release
KalliStephensGenetics and Cell Biology
View India Dyke's news release
View Haley Morris' news release
View Gunnar Sly's news release
GunnarSlyChemical Engineering
View Sean Thompson's news release
SeanThompsonGenetics and Cell Biology
View Daniel Goto's news release
DanielGotoElectrical Engineering, Materials Science Engineering
View Kristian Gubsch's news release
KristianGubschChemical Engineering
View Courtney Klappenbach's news release
CourtneyKlappenbachGenetics and Cell Biology, Microbiology
View Zachary Howard's news release
ZacharyHowardGenetics & Cell Biology
View Amelia Brown's news release
AmeliaBrownMaterials Science & Engineering
View Julianna Brutman's news release
View Keesha Matz's news release
View Keesha Matz's news release
KeeshaMatzMicrobiologyHonorable Mention
View Angela Rocchi's news release
AngelaRocchiNeuroscienceHonorable Mention
View Ryan Matthew Summers' news release
Ryan MatthewSummersComputer Engineering
View Justin Niedermeyer's news release
JustinNiedermeyerPhysics, Music, German
View Angela Rocchi's news release
AngelaRocchiNeuroscienceHonorable Mention
View Seth Schneider's news release
SethSchneiderGenetics & Cell Biology
View Sarah Brewer's news release
SarahBrewerAgricultural Biotechnology, Biochemistry
View Fiorella Grandi's news release
FiorellaGrandiBiochemistry, Genetics & Cell Biology
View Nicholas Negretti's news release
View Nicole Clark's news release
NicoleClarkBiochemistry, Genetics & Cell Biology
View Mayumi Holly's news release
2011IanLindeBiochemistryHonorable Mention
2011RossRowseyGenetics & Cell BiologyHonorable Mention
2011MelissaStreetMechanical EngineeringHonorable Mention
2010KaoriGraybealBioengineeringHonorable Mention
View news release
KristenMeyerChemistryWSU Tri-Cities
2009SvetlanaLockwoodComputer Science
2009WhitneyPattersonMaterials Science & Engineering
2008KoleMeekerNeuroscienceHonorable Mention
2006StephanieTintingerChemistryHonorable Mention
2000MarleneBakkoAnimal Sciences
1997ArthurBinnerPhysics, Mathematics
1995JulieGrandzielwskiChemical Engineering

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