Central College News

Central Student Named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

Featured: Central Student Named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

April 5, 2021

A Central College student has been named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar in a prestigious national competition that recognizes undergraduates for outstanding achievements in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.

Cameron Coles, a member of the Class of 2022, is the second Central student to win the competitive Goldwater Scholarship since it was founded. Katelyn Wang, Class of 2021, was the first Central student to win the scholarship in 2020.

Coles is a double major in biology and mathematics from Farley, Iowa. As a sophomore, Coles also was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Wales, United Kingdom, for the Spring 2020 semester.

After graduating from Central, Coles’ goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in ecology to conduct research in mathematical ecology or evolutionary biology and teach at the university level.

Coles’ mentors at Central are Russ Benedict, professor of biology; Paulina Mena, associate professor of biology; and Mark Johnson, Ruth and Marvin Denekas Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities and professor of mathematics and computer science. He is represented by Katelin Valster, lecturer of exercise science and pre-health programs advisor.

“We are proud to see yet another Central student among the nation’s top STEM scholars,” says Mary E.M. Strey, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “As the Goldwater Foundation has recognized, Cameron has a strong commitment to STEM research and a promising future in his respective fields. The support he received from Central faculty demonstrates Central’s commitment to mentoring and challenging our students.”

The scholarships are awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in STEM research. In 2021, a total of 410 Goldwater scholars were selected from a field of approximately 5,000 nominees representing 438 institutions. This year, the number of nominees nearly quadrupled compared to last year (1,300).

Award recipients this year also include two students from Iowa State University, two students from the University of Iowa and one student from Wartburg College. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for sophomores and juniors from across the country to cover the costs of tuition, fees, books and other expenses.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program honors Senator Barry Goldwater and was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.