Gold Standard: Two USU Honors Students are 2019 Goldwater Scholars

Utah State University Honors students and Undergraduate Research Fellows Bryce Frederickson and Ethan Hammer were named 2019 Goldwater Scholars in a prestigious national competition that recognizes outstanding achievements in science and mathematics.  

The awards were announced April 26 by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which administers the program.  Frederickson and Hammer are among 495 awardees selected this year, from more than 1,200 nominees representing 443 institutions. 

With this year’s award recipients, USU boasts 31 Goldwater Scholars and 16 honorable mention recipients since 1998; numbers that rival the nation’s top universities.

“Goldwater Scholars are selected from among the nation’s top STEM undergraduate scholars,” says USU President Noelle Cockett. “This well-deserved recognition is a testament to the exceptional achievements of our students in academics, research and service, as well as the outstanding mentorship by our faculty.”

Each year, USU may submit up to four nominations for the award; a process, coordinated by the USU Honors program, that begins in November. Award recipients receive one or two-year scholarships of up to $7,500 per year toward annual tuition and expenses.

“USU consistently doubles the Goldwater success rate of most schools, due to our faculty’s fundamental commitment to undergraduate research, the individual application mentorship of Physics Professor David Peak and our spectacular students,” says Professor Kristine Miller, Honors Program director.

Bryce Frederickson, major in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science

A native of Orem, Utah, Frederickson studies combinatorics, a branch of mathematics that analyzes patterns in discrete objects.

“I love how combinatorics pulls topics together from every branch of mathematics,” says the 2014 graduate of Timpanogos High School. “I am fascinated by the idea of symmetry, as it simplifies and beautifies what, at first glance, appear to be very complex problems.”

As an Undergraduate Research Fellow, Frederickson got involved with research during his freshman year, working with Department of Mathematics and Statistics faculty mentor David Brown. After returning from a church mission to Mexico in 2017, the undergraduate continued conducting research with Brown and proved several theorems related to tournament entropy, which he presented at two conferences and submitted for publication.

During the summer of 2018, Frederickson was selected to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Idaho’s Boise State University. With his research group, Frederickson explored the combinatorial notion of set splitting. He presented results of his work at three conferences, including the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland, and authored a paper submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to research, Frederickson serves as a teaching assistant for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics’ Complex Variables class, as well as the University Honors Program’s math tutor.

Frederickson was selected as the College of Science’s 2019 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year. He was subsequently named USU Undergraduate Researcher of the Year at the university’s 2019 Robins Awards.

Following graduation from Utah State in 2020, Frederickson plans to pursue doctoral studies.

“Utah State has provided me with countless opportunities to explore mathematics with professors and other students,” he says. “These research experiences have reinforced my desire to research mathematics as a professor and have built my confidence that I can make meaningful contributions to the field.”

A recipient of a USU Presidential Scholarship, Frederickson received the Utah Governor’s Office’s Philo T. Farnsworth Award and is a USU Neville and Annie Hunsaker Scholar.

He is the son of John and Karyn Frederickson of Orem.

Ethan Hammer, majors in Conservation and Restoration Ecology and Ecology and Wildlife, with a minor in Statistics

An Iowa native, Hammer has spent two summers of his undergraduate career conducting research with the National Park Service on varied mammalian species in southern Utah’s majestic Cedar Breaks National Monument. In 2018, he was selected for USU’s Joseph Ray Miller National Parks Service Internship, which was established to honor the memory of Miller, a USU alumnus.

“These experiences have provided me the opportunity to do research in collaboration with a land management agency and to implement the research in management decisions,” says Hammer, a 2016 graduate of George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Hammer’s research experience spans study of a range of wildlife species. With Kezia Manlove, faculty member in the USU Ecology Center and the Department of Wildland Resources, Hammer investigated bighorn sheep disease ecology. He digitized paper field maps of bighorn sheep locations, to hone his skills in spatial analysis and creation of presentation visuals.

With faculty mentor Nicole Frey of USU’s Department of Wildland Resources, Hammer designed and conducted camera surveys to inventory and monitor wildlife at Cedar Breaks. The pair wrote a paper about their findings, which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, and Hammer presented the research to state legislators and guests at 2019 Undergraduate Research Day on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

In another project with Frey, Hammer reviewed existing literature on the American Pika, a small herbivore found in the mountains of western North America and wrote an outreach fact sheet about the mammal for USU Extension.

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In addition to research projects, Hammer served as an Undergraduate Research Fellow Ambassador, representing Utah State and advising the future direction of the program. He was also a Resident Assistant at Utah State and a volunteer student trip leader for USU Outdoor Recreation, which included efforts to minimize risks for student participants.

A recipient of the USU Seely-Hinckley Scholarship, Hammer is a member of Xi Sigma Pi, an international forestry honor society, and serves on the Quinney College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Student Council.

Following graduation from USU in 2020, Hammer plans to pursue a doctoral degree in conservation biology.

“I intend to research how human activities impact biodiversity on public lands and how to develop effective management actions to protect biodiversity,” he says. “I wish to pursue an academic career at a university, but will also work closely with land management agencies, such as the National Park Service, to apply research findings to management challenges.”

He is the son of Keith and Laura Hammer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Previous USU Goldwater Honorees

David Maughan, physics and mathematics (Honorable Mention)

Jake Christensen, physics
Thomas Hill, mathematics
A.J. Walters, biological engineering, biochemistry and biology (Honorable Mention) 

Benjamin Lovelady, physics
Caroline Bourgeois, biology and biochemistry (Honorable Mention)
Alexander Cook, biological engineering (Honorable Mention)

Kathryn Sweet, biochemistry and physics
David Griffin, physics and computer science (Honorable Mention)

Rachel Nydegger Rozum, physics and mathematics
David Griffin, physics and computer science (Honorable Mention)

J. Tyler Gish, chemistry and physics
Jordan Rozum, physics and mathematics

Mitch Dabling, civil engineering
Sarah Mousley, mathematics
Jordan Rozum, physics and mathematics (Honorable Mention)
Rachel Ward, physics and mathematics (Honorable Mention)

Linsey Johnson, physics
Brooke Siler, biochemistry and economics
Brian Tracy, physics
Karen Nielsen, mechanical and aerospace engineering (Honorable Mention)

Daniel Fenn, physics
Justin Koeln, mechanical and aerospace engineering
Robert Call, physics (Honorable Mention)

Taren McKenna, physics and mathematics
Cody Tramp, molecular biology and biochemistry
B.J. Myers, physics (Honorable Mention)

Jodie Barker-Tvedtnes, physics
Tamara Jeppson, geology and physics
Sydney Chamberlin, physics and mathematics (Honorable Mention)
Cody Tramp, molecular biology and biochemistry (Honorable Mention)

Jennifer Albretsen-Roth, physics
Arthur Mahoney, computer science and mathematics
Jodie Barker-Tvedtnes, physics (Honorable Mention)

Logan McKenna, electrical engineering
Heidi Wheelwright, physics
Keith Warnick,
physics (Honorable Mention)

Stephanie Chambers, biology
David Hatch, physics

Jamie B. Jorgensen, physics

Lara B. Anderson, physics and mathematics

Jeff Jacobs, mechanical engineering

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