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Two Physics Majors Receive Goldwater Scholarships


June 27, 2019

This article was originally posted on the Fellowships Office website.

This year, physics majors James Minock and Johannes Wagner were Drexel’s sole recipients of the Goldwater Scholarship. Minock and Wagner were selected from a highly-competitive pool of 5,000 natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering college sophomores and juniors who were nominated by 443 academic institutions across the United States.

James Minock, Drexel Physics Major

James Minock is a fourth-year physics student minoring in computer science. Minock began research in the STAR Scholars Program with Michelle Dolinski, PhD, associate professor of physics, for the Precision Oscillation and Spectrum Experiment (PROSPECT) Collaboration. He worked on optimizing detector design. For his first and second co-ops, Minock continued work with PROSPECT. His research work includes: development of computational analysis methods, data analysis of background signals, and assembly of detector components at Yale University. For his third co-op, Minock will be an application developer for University of Pennsylvania's Center for Biomedical Image Computing and Analytics working with their Cancer Imaging Phenomics Toolkit. Minock plans to pursue a PhD in physics, focusing on research in experimental neutrino physics.

Johannes Wagner, Drexel Physics Major

Johannes Wagner is a junior physics student minoring in mathematics, computer science and data science. Wagner started his research career with PROSPECT, a reactor antineutrino experiment, under Russell Neilson, PhD, assistant professor of physics. He spent his first co-op designing a simulation for light pulse data sets and working on PMT timing analysis for calibration of the PROSPECT detector. For his second co-op, he worked on data analysis and hardware for Neilson’s other project PICO, a dark matter direct detection experiment. He is currently on his final co-op at Michigan State University, where he is performing astrophysical source analysis using “big data” filtration techniques and machine learning for the IceCUBE experiment under Prof. Claudio Kopper. Wagner plans to pursue a PhD in physics, focusing on computational particle physics.


The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes the nation's top undergraduates in natural science, engineering, and mathematics and is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields. As Goldwater Scholars, James and Johannes are among just 496 college students from across the United States selected from candidates nominated by 443 academic institutions. Goldwater Scholars receive an educational scholarship of up to $7,500/year, as well as national recognition in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

These students join a community of scholars with impressive academic and research qualifications, which often garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 92 Rhodes Scholarships, 137 Marshall Scholarships, 159 Churchill Scholarships, 104 Hertz Fellowships and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Read the full press release on the Goldwater Scholarship website. See previous Drexel Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions.

Special thanks to faculty who participated on the Goldwater Campus Committee, working with the Center for Scholar Development during the fall and winter terms to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Michelle Dolinski, Associate Professor, Physics
  • Dave Goldberg, Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies and Professor, Physics
  • Ekaterina Pomerantseva,Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Maureen Tang, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986, with the goal of recognizing the nation's top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, please email the Center for Scholar Development at