Undergraduate's Goldwater Award

11 Apr 2011

Michael Kenney, a junior working in the Gust group, is one of 275 individuals in the nation to win the Goldwater Scholarship this year. This is the premier award for undergraduates who intend to have a career in research in mathematics, science, or engineering and will cover up to $7,500 of his tuition and books for the following academic year. “This National Scholarship recognizes Mike’s potential for contributing to the advancement of science in the U. S.,” Devens Gust, recently named Regents’ Professor and EFRC director says. “For an undergraduate, his contributions to solar energy research have been truly exceptional, and in spite of spending long hours in the laboratory he has kept his grade point average in courses at 3.98.”This honor is truly an acknowledgment of Kenney’s dedication to his lab work as well as his study during his time attending university. He began at ASU intending to major in biochemistry, but switched to chemistry because he also enjoys math and physics. Interested in solar energy, Kenney began working with the Gust, Moore, and Moore group in June 2009 after reading about their work in an ASU news article. This experience sparked Kenney’s passion for research. “It’s very exciting to be on the forefront of scientific activity in this field,” Kenney says. However, he has worked on projects unrelated to renewable energy as well. Kenney spent last summer in an REU program at Carnegie Mellon University making a magnetic nanoparticle/polymer composite for applications in electromagnetic interference absorbers, and will be at Caltech this summer studying NMR spectroscopy.

Although Kenney enjoyed learning about polymer composites at Carnegie Mellon and is looking forward to working with one of the world’s experts in the field of NMR, Dr. John D. Roberts, in the coming months, he isn’t planning to abandon his initial interest in solar energy. Next year, Kenney will continue in the Gust group while applying to Ph.D. programs in chemistry and intends to continue research in solar energy in his graduate studies and scientific career. His colleagues are sure he will be successful in these endeavors. Brad Brennan, a graduate student who mentors with Kenney, says “Mike has a curious mind and is intrigued by various aspects of science.  He will do great things in whatever path he chooses.”

We congratulate Michael Kenney on this award and wish him the best in his research career.


by Emily North


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