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Ian Francis, a junior studying mathematics at UT, has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship to further his studies.

UT nominated four students for the Goldwater this year, and all four were nationally recognized. The other three nominees received honorable mentions. They are:

  • Patrick McKenzie, of Ward, Arkansas, a Haslam Scholar junior in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Louis Varriano, of Memphis, Tennessee, a Haslam Scholar junior in physics
  • Kimberly Bress, of Melbourne Beach, Florida, a Haslam Scholar sophomore in neuroscience
2016-04-11 AB Goldwater Ian Francis
Ian Francis

Francis, of Brentwood, Tennessee, is a Haslam Scholar and works in the Math Tutorial Center, a free tutoring service the math department offers for UT students. He has done research at UT with Remus Nicoara, associate professor and director of the honors program in mathematics. He also has done research in Germany with UT Professor Ken Stephenson and Professor Elias Wegert from the Technical University of Freiberg.

Francis said the award—$7,500 that he will use for tuition, fees, books, and room and board—will help him progress toward his goal of attending graduate school and then pursuing a career conducting research and teaching at the university level.

Andrew Seidler, director of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said Francis and the other students represented the university well.

“The competition to get nominated for this award on our campus, let alone receiving recognition at the national level, was quite intense. This is a tremendous and well-deserved accomplishment for these four students and for UT,” he said.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded 252 scholarships for the 2016–2017 academic year to U.S. sophomores and juniors studying mathematics, science, and engineering.

UT can nominate up to four undergraduates for the Goldwater Scholarship each year. The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships facilitates the application process and relies on its UT Goldwater Selection Committee to make the final selection and nomination of its candidates. This year’s faculty committee members were Gladys Alexandre, professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology; Nicoara; Masood Parang, associate dean and professor of engineering; and Gina Pighetti, associate professor of animal science.

A full list of this year’s Goldwater scholars can be found here.

For guidance on applying for the Goldwater Scholarship, UT students should visit the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships website and contact ONSF Director Andrew Seidler at to discuss the campus application process and deadline schedule.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,