Winning the Gates was exhilarating. This award stood as my only means to finance an education at Cambridge, as well as a powerful source of support for my future endeavors in science outreach. I also believed that I met its criteria for showing the potential to become a productive scientist and leader, so I was really hoping to be granted one. That didn't, however, lessen my surprise and delight at being announced a winner. It meant a lot to me that the Gates Committee regarded my work as influential enough to warrant their endorsement. I'm very proud to have this scholarship, and extremely grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me.
The research that I have chosen to do as a Goldwater Scholar focuses on exploring atmospheric pressure microplasmas and their potential applications in sterilization and cleaning. I am very excited to be named a Goldwater Scholar, because this award will provide me with resources to do my work, which I enjoy and can result in direct improvements in the lives of others.
In addition to applying for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, I decided to apply for the NSF GRFP as a means to fund a graduate education in the United States. A scholarship like this would ensure that I was able to work on a project in atomic physics that I found interesting and potentially useful during my graduate studies. Although I didn't receive this scholarship, I am happy to have received an Honorable Mention, and when I return to the United States to finish my graduate studies, I intend on applying to the program again.