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Two Hendrix Students Named Goldwater Scholars


CONWAY, Ark. (May 8, 2019) – Two Hendrix College juniors, Sarah Nicholson ’20 of Little Rock, Ark., and Kate Sanders ’20 of Cave City, Ark., have recently received Goldwater Scholarships from The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Nicholson, a physics major, and Sanders, a computer science and mathematics major, are the 32nd and 33rd Hendrix students to receive this honor in the 31-year history of the scholarship competition.

Nicholson’s research is in theoretical physics. She is studying a particle known as a neutralino, and her work will help to determine if this particle is a component of dark matter. Nicholson’s mentor for her Goldwater research proposal was physics professor Dr. Todd Tinsley ’98, who was named a 1997 Goldwater Scholar.

Sanders’ research applies computer science to her second academic love, biology. She is developing a biogeographical model of a hemiparasitic (extract resources from their host, but retain the ability to photosynthesize) plant, which will be an important tool that could be used to map the spread of parasitic plants into commercially valuable forests. Biology professor Dr. Adam Schneider served as research proposal mentor for Sanders.

Rachel Lance ’20 and Rebecca Parham ’21 were also nominated by the College, and their research mentors were Drs. Laura MacDonald ’09 and Courtney Hatch ’00. And biology professor Dr. Jenn Dearolf, the current Goldwater Campus Representative, ushered Hendrix’s Goldwater nominees through the process.

“The Goldwater Foundation recognizes the best of the best students from over 400 institutions across the United States, and this year, they only awarded scholarships to 40% of the students that applied. Thus, we are ecstatic that two of our students were recognized. And, this achievement would not have been possible without the high quality of our students at Hendrix, as well as the excellent mentors that are available to them in their classrooms and research labs,” Dearolf said. “It’s a well-deserved honor for Sarah and Kate, and I am extremely proud of all of our nominees this year.”

About the Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater and 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. It is widely considered the most prestigious award bestowed on undergraduates studying in the natural sciences.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit