Grainy backgrounds, smoke residue and Australian bush tomatoes. Studying these disparate topics has earned three Bucknell University juniors a unique national honor: the 2022 Goldwater Fellowship. Michael Bolish ’23 of Latrobe, April Hurlock ’23 of Gilbertsville, and Claire Marino ’23, of Victor, New York, were recognized.
Bucknell spokesman Mike Ferlazzo said in an email received Thursday: “Having three Goldwater Fellows puts Bucknell on par with some of the best research institutions in the country. For example, Stanford had four winners this year, while Harvard, Yale and Cornell each had three.
“Established by Congress in 1986, the Goldwater Fellowship Program recognizes undergraduate students who show outstanding promise to become America’s next generation of research leaders in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. That certainly describes Bolish, Hurlock and Marino, who are already making their mark in the lab and in the field.
Working with Professor Katharina Vollmayr-Lee, Physics, Bolish uses computational physics to study the behavior of granular media. (Think corn in a grain silo.) “By understanding the dynamics of granular media, my research could eventually help create engineering designs that help reduce unwanted interference events, which cause natural phenomena like avalanches, and to be applied to specific equipment in industrial lines, such as helping to reduce jamming events in a hopper,” Bolish said.
Bolish, a physics student at the Lewisburg campus, has a lifelong interest in science and considers a telescope his favorite childhood gift. He will soon use much more sophisticated instruments, when he travels to the University of Hawaii for 10 weeks to study active galactic nuclei.
Bolish’s career goal is to study astrophysics with a particular interest in dark matter/dark energy. Winning a Goldwater scholarship should help. “Overall, the application process was extremely rewarding, whether I won or not, as I had the opportunity to learn a lot about planning, writing and reviewing applications, which will help me tremendously for future scholarship and graduate applications,” he said.
Bucknell’s Office of Undergraduate Scholarships and Research helps students identify, prepare for, and apply for graduate research and scholarship opportunities, including the Goldwater Fellowship.