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Dr. Mark S. Boley and Ryan Gordon
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WIU Student Named Goldwater Scholar; Named Summer Research Intern at UIUC

April 1, 2004

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University junior physics and mathematics major Ryan Gordon from Browning is a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award in the field of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Gordon is among 310 students selected from 1,113 undergraduate sophomores and juniors from across the United States to earn a 2004-2005 scholarship. He will receive $7,500 toward tuition, fees, books, room and board for his senior year at Western.

“This is truly a tremendous honor for Ryan and a major step in his career,” said physics professor and mentor Mark S. Boley.

He is the second Western Illinois Goldwater Scholar. Alumnus Michael Baxa, currently working toward a doctorate in physics at the University of Chicago, was Western’s first Goldwater Scholar (2001-2002); and current physics major Jason Orris, a senior from Macomb, earned honorable mention last year. All three worked in Boley’s research laboratory.

Gordon is continuing the research Baxa began in condensed matter physics, with a specialization in Raman spectroscopy in superconductors. Using laser spectrometry, he is researching the effects of sample preparation time on the superconductor magnesium diboride.

Gordon, a 2001 Rushville High School graduate, started his Western research laboratory studies on the advice of physics classmates.

“I talked to some of the other students in my classes, and they recommended it. Once I started working in the lab, I was hooked,” he said.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, a federally endowed program established in 1986 in honor of the Arizona senator, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. Nominees must commit to pursuing advanced degrees following their undergraduate education.

Gordon, whose plans are to go on for a doctorate in physics and teach at the university level, has been accepted into a 10-week summer internship in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The internship, sponsored through the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), includes a $4,000 stipend and living expenses.

Ryan is the son of Georgeann Gordon and the late Jerry Gordon of Browning.

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