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Stephanie Jordan ’20 and Teal Witter ’20 have received Goldwater Scholarships for the coming year.

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Two Middlebury Juniors Named Goldwater Scholars

May 8, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Two Middlebury students have been named Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which provides scholarships up to $7,500 to support undergraduates pursuing careers in math, natural sciences, and engineering.

Stephanie Jordan ’20, a junior computer science major from Florence, Mass., is particularly interested in machine learning and its potential applications to addressing environmental crises, including climate change. She plans to pursue a PhD in computer science and eventually teach undergraduates and graduate students at the university level. Jordan has already gained valuable experience in the field as a teaching assistant at Middlebury and an instructor for the national nonprofit Girls Who Code.

Last summer, Jordan worked on research with the German-based Flora Robotica project, which “aims to create environmentally sustainable architectures from robot-plant bio-hybrid systems.” She is currently studying abroad at the University of Oxford, where she is exploring both computer science and philosophy with a focus on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Teal Witter ’20, a computer science major from Niwot, Colo., also seeks to earn his PhD in computer science with a goal of researching theoretical quantum computing and teaching at the university level. Last summer, Witter worked on research with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Shelby Kimmel, during which he focused on designing and analyzing efficient quantum algorithms for important graph problems. Witter copresented on his research at the recent Annual Conference on Quantum Information Processing in Boulder, Colorado.

Witter is also active with the Middlebury Debate Society, serving as treasurer and case captain. After graduating from Middlebury, he plans to pursue a PhD in theoretical computer science.

“To be named a Goldwater Scholar is a great achievement,” said Lisa Gates, associate dean for fellowships and research. “The award recognizes the talent and accomplishment of undergraduates in STEM fields, but it also is a strong endorsement of their potential impact as researchers. Having Stephanie and Teal selected this year is a wonderful recognition of their work thus far, and it also illustrates the strength of the academic mentoring at Middlebury and the opportunities our students have to engage in challenging research experiences both with our faculty here and with research groups at other institutions.”

According to the Goldwater Foundation, an estimated 5,000 college sophomores and juniors were nominated by 443 academic institutions to compete for this year's 496 Goldwater Scholarships. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 92 Rhodes Scholarships, 137 Marshall Awards, 159 Churchill Scholarships, 104 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

For more information, visit the Middlebury fellowships office.