Two NAU students are receiving accolades and national attention for their undergraduate research with one of the nation’s most prestigious academic honors.

Junior Wilson Lough, a mathematics and physics dual major, has been named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar. Lough will pursue a Ph.D. in mathematical physics, conducting research in theoretical physics and eventually instructing at the university level.

Geology major Savannah Tjaden, also a junior, was named a 2015 Goldwater Honorable Mention. Tjaden, who received a highly competitive EPA GRO Fellowship last fall, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in hydrological science, focusing on global water security and management.

“There are many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved with research at NAU,” Lough said. “I’ve been lucky enough to work on interesting projects in both the physics and math departments.”

Both Lough and Tjaden credit faculty members for their support and guidance, as well as inspiring confidence in these burgeoning researchers.

Savannah Tjaden

Geology junior Savannah Tjaden was selected as a 2015 Goldwater Honorable Mention.

“My mentor, Abe Springer, and his team have provided me with opportunities to succeed, innovate and grow as a person and a researcher,” Tjaden said. “They have managed to create and foster an environment where as an undergraduate I feel respected, valued and challenged.”

Lough echoes similar gratitude. “Jeff Rushall and Mark James, in the math and physics departments, have both had a big influence on me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for both of them.”

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit and research potential from a field of 1,206 science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

Named in honor of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the scholarship program fosters and encourages outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. In the last three years, NAU has had three Goldwater Scholars and two Honorable Mentions.

Lough will receive $7,500 to use toward tuition, room and board, school fees and books.