Regis Classmates Earn 2021 Goldwater Scholarships For Physics Studies
Classmates Andrew Sullivan (left) and Alex Manduca (right) are among the university students awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for their studies in STEM. 

In March, Regis classmates Alex Manduca ’18 and Andrew Sullivan ’18 were awarded the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent scholarship in mathematics, science, and engineering in the United States. Recognized from a pool of roughly 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, the college students were commended for their educational pursuits in the field of Physics and their intentions to pursue careers and research in STEM after college.

Established in 1986 in honor of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has committed itself to providing deserving students a pathway to become STEM professionals and better serve the country in these areas. Out of this year’s applicant pool, 1256 students studying the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics were nominated by 438 academic institutions in the United States, and after final deliberation, 409 students were ultimately chosen to receive the prestigious award. Nearly all intend to pursue Ph.D. programs after their undergraduate studies, and many have published and presented individual research.

Sullivan, a Physics major at Columbia University, is grateful to receive this honor, and attributes his success to his teachers at Regis who cultivated in him a passion for science. “I developed a love for Physics in my junior year at Regis while in Dr. Matone’s Physics class,” said Sullivan, who also was an active member of Regis’ Astronomy Club. “The course was my first introduction to Physics, so it was only then that I realized how interesting the subject could be. Dr. Matone was an excellent teacher and mentor, always willing to answer my questions both about class material and about Physics in general. It was incredibly motivating to have Dr. Matone, a physicist who contributed to LIGO, one of the most groundbreaking Physics experiments of all time, as my first Physics teacher.”

Manduca, a Physics major at St. Joseph’s University, expressed similar thanks to the educators who have shaped his interest in Physics. “At this Jesuit institution, I've had the good fortune of being mentored by extraordinary professors, like Dr. Paul Angiollilo, that encouraged me to reach out beyond the limits of our campus,” said Manduca, who also studied Physics under Dr. Matone while at Regis. “This led me to Dr. Mark Devlin's lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Devlin gave me an opportunity to become a part of his laboratory and contribute to his research. These individuals, from Dr. Matone to Dr. Angiollilo to Dr. Devlin (and so many others along the way) have selflessly given their time and energy to mentor me and encourage me to pursue that which I love. These professors have exhibited the Ignatian ideal of being Men for Others. I hope that I too may be able to follow in their footsteps and give to future generations of students that which they gave to me.”

The Goldwater Scholarship, which amounts to roughly $7,500 per scholar, will be used by the two Regians to help cover the cost of tuition, books, room and board, and miscellaneous fees. After graduating, Sullivan will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics, hoping to become a professional researcher in gravitational physics and study unique astrophysical phenomena that can be observed with the new techniques of gravitational wave astronomy. Likewise, Manduca plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Astronautical Engineering, looking to begin a career conducting research and innovating in the fields of astronautics and spacecraft navigation.

“Both Andrew and Alex were very good students and enthused by the subject of Physics, so much so that during a summer they joined research efforts in Physics at Columbia University,” Physics teacher Dr. Luca Matone said. “To my surprise they continued along this path in college, and I am so happy and proud of their academic achievement – you never know when you are impacting these young and brilliant minds.”

Posted: 5/12/21