March 21, 2006

Two SIUC students named Goldwater Scholars

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are among just 323 nationwide who will receive scholarships from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Kathleen M. Lask, a sophomore physics major from Mendon, and Austin T. Mohr, a junior majoring in mathematics and computer science from Marion, are among only 11 students in Illinois to receive the honor. Each will receive $7,500 for the 2006-2007 school year to cover the costs of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Lask, the daughter of Richard and Patricia Lask of Mendon, said she was stunned upon hearing the news Monday (March 20) afternoon.

"It really caught me off guard," said Lask, who recently added mathematics as a second major. "It's a great honor and a boost in the right direction for me. "

Lask said she plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical physics and continue her work in experimental physics. Ultimately, she wants to research alternative energy sources and conservation methods, she said.

"It's an important issue in the world today and something that needs to be studied," said Lask, 19. "It's something I want to be involved in."

Mohr, the son of Dennis and Cindy Mohr of Marion, is pursuing a career as an educator with an ultimate goal of teaching at the university level. A recipient of an SIUC Chancellor's

Scholarship, Mohr plans to use the Goldwater Scholarship to defray costs for his master's degree studies.

"I'm working 30 hours a week now, so this will certainly make it possible to focus more on my studies," said Mohr, who holds down both an undergraduate assistantship in a computer laboratory and a medicine delivery job in Marion. "My studies are more important than just scraping by."

Mohr, 20, is married to Mary Mohr, a junior studying architecture at SIUC.

Lask and Mohr bring the number of SIUC students to win the prestigious award up to three. In 2004, Teresa J. Gisburne of Elmhurst, a zoology major, was the first SIUC student to win the scholarship.

Laurie Bell, assistant director of SIUC's University Honors Program, said the office identified both Lask and Mohr during their freshmen years as potential high achievers in scholarship. Bell worked with the students' faculty to prepare them to compete for top-level honors such as the Goldwater award.

"We're thrilled for both of them. They're both outstanding students," Bell said. "I'm really not surprised either of them won. They both had very, very strong applications.

"They are a credit to the University as a whole, and certainly to the College of Science in particular," Bell said.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency created in 1986. The program, which honors the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, is aimed at assisting outstanding students in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Since its creation, the foundation has funded 4,885 scholarships worth about $48 million. Trustees plan to fund about 300 additional scholarships for the 2007-2008 school year.

The foundation selects Goldwater Scholars on the basis of academic merit. This year the field included 1,081 applicants. Virtually all of the 182 men and 141 women selected intend to pursue their doctorates.

Goldwater Scholarship recipients often receive other leading honors. Recent recipients also have received 63 Rhodes Scholarships and 80 Marshall Awards, among others honors.

Promoting excellence in undergraduate education is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Two SIUC students named Goldwater Scholars

Goldwater Scholars – Southern
Illinois University Carbondale
students Austin T. Mohr,
center standing, and Kathleen
M. Lask, seated, are recipients
of prestigious Goldwater
Scholarships. They are flanked
by John M. Dunn, SIUC provost
and vice chancellor, left,
and SIUC Chancellor Walter V.
Wendler. Download
Photo Here

Austin T. Mohr

Austin T. Mohr
Download Photo Here

Kathleen M. Lask

Kathleen M. Lask
Download Photo Here