Two Haverford Students Awarded Goldwater Scholarships
Third-year student Christine Lamanna of McMurray and sophomore Megan Roscioli of Easton are among 300 math, science and engineering scholars nationwide who were selected as 2003 Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The scholarship covers costs of tuition, fees, books, room, and board for up to $7,500 per year.
“Winning the scholarship came as an enormous surprise,” says Christine Lamanna, who is currently studying abroad in Germany.“I am very honored to have been chosen.” Lamanna plans to pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics and collaborate internationally with scientists in the field. Last summer she worked with Haverford astronomer Stephen Boughn, comparing a catalog of radio sources with fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), radiation left over from the Big Bang.
“Christine is very bright and excited about astronomy,” says Boughn.“She can take a problem and make a lot of progress in discovering things for herself. It's unusual for science students to show so much self-reliance so early in their careers.”
Haverford's second winner, Megan Roscioli, also worked with a Haverford faculty member on his research last summer. She credits that learning experience with her winning the scholarship. This summer, Roscioli plans to work for the astronomy department at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. as part of the Keck Consortium, which allows eight liberal arts collegesâ€”including Haverfordâ€”to exchange students for summer research projects. In the fall semester, she will be studying at Oxford University.
“Megan is energetic, cheerful, and hard-working,” says Bruce Partridge, professor of astronomy, who worked with Roscioli on a research project last summer.“She was eager to get into research in astronomy and to see what scientists do with their lives. And she has been very successful in her research in radio astronomy.”
Juan Cabanela, a postdoctoral fellow and visiting assistant professor at Haverford who worked alongside Partridge and Roscioli, remembers how Roscioli ran the world's largest telescope, the Arecibo Dish in Puerto Rico.“She's incredibly motivated,” he says,“and driven to accomplish what she wants to accomplish.”
Astronomy has been offered at Haverford since the College's founding in 1833. Three Haverford presidents have taught the subject, and scores of professional astronomers, active in both research and in teaching, have graduated from the department. Many students have become involved with faculty research early in their undergraduate careers, co-authoring scientific papers with their professors and traveling to major national observatories such as the Very Large Array (VLA) of 27 radio telescopes in New Mexico.
The William J. Strawbridge Observatory houses a number of optical telescopes and workstations for processing radio and optical data from Haverford's cameras and other telescopes, as well as a library containing 3000 bound volumes and the most relevant astronomy journals. Once a month during the academic year, the observatory is open to the public.
â€œHaverford's astronomy department has an excellent national reputation,” says Bruce Partridge.