Two U of A students named 2022 Goldwater Scholars

Photo submitted

Mary Jia and Joseph Roll

Two U of A honors students have been named 2022 Goldwater Scholars, an award recognizing top students in math, science, and engineering.

Juniors Mary Jia and Joseph Roll have been named among the new scholarship recipients and each will receive a scholarship of up to $7,500 from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation.

Jia is from Stuttgart and specializes in biomedical engineering. Roll is from Joplin, Missouri, and majored in physics and math.

“The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate STEM scholarship in the country,” said Acting Chancellor Charles Robinson. “It recognizes students who begin research early in their careers and who promise to pursue research as a career path. They couldn’t have chosen better than Mary Jia and Joseph Roll. Both have been engaged in research since their early years (and even before), and both are brilliant students working with supportive faculty and are on an upward career trajectory that will launch them into a world of work marked by new discoveries that will benefit us all. .”

Over 5,000 students competed nationwide for the Goldwater Scholarship this year. It is the nation’s most prestigious award for undergraduate students considering doctoral studies and research careers in the fields of math, science, and engineering.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the United States Senator. The objective of the program is to provide a continuous source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. Universities and colleges can nominate up to four students each year.



Jia’s primary research focuses on developing a world-class editing solution for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and she is supported by an Arkansas State Undergraduate Student Research Award.

She is cited as first author in an article submitted to the Magnesium and Alloys Journal for his research on the evaluation of a novel magnesium boron nitride nanocomposite for orthopedic implant, and will present his research on the integration of SOLIDWORKS 3D design and simulation into a biomechanics course at the national conference 2022 from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Jia has been active on campus in the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Council, the Freshman Engineering Program Research Mentorship Program, Biomechanics Teaching Assistant, Biomedical Engineering Camp Leader, and Honorary Ambassador of the College. She is a Bodenhamer Scholar and Distinguished Scholar to the Governor of Arkansas. Jia also received the Charles D. Brock Fellowship and the George & Boyce Billingsley Endowment Fellowship. She will be pursuing a doctorate. in biomedical engineering.

“Mary is an incredible undergraduate researcher and operates in the lab like a graduate student,” said her research mentor Christopher Nelson, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. “For example, she will soon be presenting at the annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy. Mary is tenacious and innovative, which makes her an ideal recipient of the Goldwater Fellowship. She will be an excellent representative of this program.


Roll’s main research examines the second harmonic generation of SnS monolayers, work supported by an Arkansas State Undergraduate Student Research Grant. His contribution to an experimental research team to analyze a thin plate of SmSbTe was published in Advanced quantum technologies.

Outside of the lab, Roll is a student ambassador, serving as a tour guide to prospective students and their families. He received the Davis P. Richardson Fellowship and the New Arkansan Non-Resident Tuition Award. Roll will be pursuing a doctorate. in theoretical physics.

“Joseph Roll’s dedication to his work and the high standards he set for himself make him very worthy of this recognition,” said Salvador Barraza Lopez, associate professor of physics. “In addition to being a Goldwater Fellow, he is the senior author of a theoretical work analyzing the elastic behavior of new two-dimensional materials that is under review at Physical Review B. Joseph presented this latest work as a oral lecture at APS 2022. March meeting in Chicago. Roll has been enrolled in several graduate courses in physics and mathematics. From the beginning, serving as a research mentor to Joe and discussing physics with him has been a His level of intellectual engagement and understanding is rare, and it was a pleasure to work with him.

These Goldwater Scholars bring the U of A total to 59, with U of A students receiving awards for 24 of the past 26 years. Former Goldwater Scholars have become Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright and Udall Scholars as well as National Graduate Science Research Scholars.

They have pursued doctoral work in prestigious programs including University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, Columbia University , Cornell University, MIT, St. Andrews (Scotland), Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University and University of Washington.

U of A students interested in applying for competitive scholarships such as the Goldwater Scholarship should contact the National Competitive Awards Office at [email protected]

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

About Hector Hedgepeth

Check Also

PLU Biology Professor Amy Siegesmund Receives National Teaching Award | New

“In addition to being a great instructor for our students, Amy inspires better teaching in …