December 18, 2018  

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Two Southern Miss Students Receive Goldwater Scholarships

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University of Southern Mississippi sophomore chemistry major Hannah Roberts has been named a Goldwater Scholar. Michael Sims, a junior polymer science/chemistry major, has also earned the distinction.(University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

University of Southern Mississippi students Michael Sims of Hattiesburg, Miss., and Hannah Roberts of Mount Olive, Miss., have been awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarships which recognize the nation’s next generation of top research scientists.

Sims is a junior majoring in polymer science and chemistry, while Roberts is a sophomore chemistry major. Southern Miss accounts for two of the four Goldwater Scholarships awarded this year to students in Mississippi. The others include a Mississippi State student and a University of South Alabama student (Students compete in their state of legal residence).

Since the program’s inception in 1989, Southern Miss students have earned 21 Goldwater Scholarships. In the past eight years, seven Southern Miss students have been named Goldwater Scholars, while five others have made the Honorable Mention list.

“Winning Goldwater has been a dream of mine since before I even started college, so realizing that I had finally accomplished something so significant was definitely difficult to complete grasp,” said Sims. “It’s hugely gratifying to be able to substantively contribute to USM’s legacy and prestige.”

The Goldwater honor caught Roberts by surprise, considering the fact that she is only two years into her collegiate work.

“As a sophomore I did not expect to be awarded with a Goldwater Scholarship this year, so I was extremely surprised and excited when I found out the news,” said Roberts. “To me, this type of distinction helps to validate my choice in this career path. Being named as a Goldwater Scholar is a prominent achievement that few individuals have the opportunity to obtain.”

Named in honor of Sen. Barry Goldwater, the one and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Academic achievement and potential to perform groundbreaking research is the basis for selection. This year 271 students from across the country have been awarded the coveted scholarships from 1,107 nominations. Universities may nominate no more than four students per year.

“The Goldwater Scholarship is an intensely competitive program with each university using a long screening process to select their official nominees,” said Robyn Curtis, officer of National Scholarships and Fellowships at Southern Miss. “Michael and Hannah worked on their applications for almost five months before they were submitted. It is a testament to their potential as scholars as well as to USM’s commitment to fostering student research that we continue to have such strong results in this competition.”

Sims, a Hattiesburg High graduate, is the son of Butch Sims and Suzanne Sanford. Roberts, a Sumrall High graduate, is the daughter of James and Danna Roberts.

Students interested in applying for the Truman or other nationally competitive scholarships should contact Southern Miss National Scholarship Officer Robyn Curtis at 601.266.4263 or