Goldwater Winner

Physics major is only Missouri public university awardee

Zoe S. Lemon, a University of Missouri-Kansas City physics major, has received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

Lemon is one of 252 students nationwide to be recognized with the award. The Goldwater is a nationally competitive scholarship awarded to undergraduates — sophomores and juniors — in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors.

“This is a big honor and I’m really excited,” Lemon said. “This will help pay for tuition, and will be an asset when I apply for grad school.”

Named after Senator Barry Goldwater, the scholarship was created 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.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the institutional representatives of 415 colleges and universities nationwide.

Virtually all winners intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective, and have a track record of research interests. Lemon, who plans to graduate in May 2017, would like to eventually teach physics at a university and research biophysics.

Four other Missouri residents also received Goldwater scholarships this year, but UMKC’s Lemon was the only one attending a public Missouri university.

“One of the reasons I chose UMKC is because it is a research university, and the math and science faculty members I met during a college visit,” Lemon said. She and her brother were homeschooled, and her father emphasized math and science.

The scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Fred Leibsle, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, assumed the role of faculty representative for the Goldwater. He identified likely candidates, recruited and mentored them, and wrote the institutional endorsement.

“He’s guided me every step of the way through my career at UMKC, as he does for every one of his students, and I’m incredibly grateful to him,” Lemon said.


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