WMU News

Senior is WMU's second Goldwater Scholar

April 8, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University senior David P. Hoogerheide of Portage, Mich., has been selected as the University's second recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Hoogerheide was chosen on the basis of academic merit from among 1,093 applicants nationwide. A total of 300 students will receive 2003-04 awards, which cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premiere undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural science and engineering. The endowed recognition program was established by Congress in 1986 to pay tribute to Sen. Barry M. Goldwater and to encourage students to pursue careers in those fields. The application process includes a nomination from the student's university, an essay and short answers to several questions, and letters of recommendation. In 1996, Marc A. Humphrey became WMU's first Goldwater scholar.

Hoogerheide, a double major in physics and chemistry, has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average at WMU. A member of the Lee Honors College, he was recently named as the Department of Chemistry's Presidential Scholar--the University's highest honor for senior undergraduates.

"The Goldwater is certainly the nation's most prestigious science award for undergraduates," says Dr. John Martell, assistant dean of the Lee Honors College, who nominated Hoogerheide for the Goldwater. "The quality of students who compete for this award is incredibly high, and David fits in with that group very nicely. Not only is he a brilliant scientist, he has a good background in the humanities and is also a musician. What has most impressed me is that he is such a thoughtful person who is always concerned about the ethical dimensions of whatever the topic at hand--it's almost as if he's always at some higher theoretical plane. I cannot overestimate David's fine qualities as a human being and an outstanding scholar."

Hoogerheide spent the summer of 2002 at Pharmacia Corp. working in an analytical research and development laboratory. In January, he began solid state physics research with Dr. Clement Burns, associate professor of physics. Their work with metal-ammonia solutions will continue through the summer and will form the basis of Hoogerheide's honors thesis.

"When they hear about the Goldwater, people say 'wow, you must be a great student,'" says Hoogerheide, who plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics after graduating in April 2004. "And while it's true that I have been dedicated to my classes, there are also a lot of other contributing factors that are outside of my control. I'm grateful to Dr. Martell, my family and to several professors who have given me a lot of advice and been great teachers--they've contributed a lot to my success.

"I've been labeled now as one of the top science students in the country, and that's probably going to open a lot of doors."

A 2000 graduate of Plymouth Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., Hoogerheide received a medallion scholarship to come to WMU. A National Merit Scholar, he also has received the Drug, Chemical and Allied Trades Scholarship, and the Paul Rood and Nathan Nichols physics scholarships. Because the Medallion Scholarship and his other awards pay for nearly all his schooling expenses, Hoogerheide probably will not be able to accept any part of the financial award that comes with the Goldwater Scholarship.

Hoogerheide has played the French horn with both the WMU Concert Band and the Horn Choir. An active volunteer, he has donated his time as an administrator for Bible Truth Books and a computer network administrator at the Providence Christian School. Hoogerheide has been involved with the WMU Physics Club and the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society. He is the son of John and Jane Hoogerheide of Portage.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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