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2018 Goldwater Honorees

April 2, 2018

The Center for Scholar Development is excited to announce that two Drexel students have been named 2018 Goldwater Scholars and one received an received an Honorable Mention. 

These students were selected from a highly-competitive pool of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering students nominated by Goldwater campus representatives from among 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. We are delighted they've been recognized for their hard work and potential.

Congratulations to Robert Ross, Nicholas Trainor, and Philip Weigel!


Robert Ross (BS Computer Science ‘19)
Goldwater Scholar
Robert is a junior computer science student interested in algorithms and automation. During the CS freshman design sequence, Rob led a team of 6 students that designed and built an airborne, semi-autonomous system capable of detecting windows in a building’s façade (a first step towards automated window washing). As a STAR scholar, guided by Ryan Kaliszewski (then a member of Drexel’s math department), Rob developed and coded an algorithm for obtaining the chromatic symmetric function of certain graphs. During his second and third years, through an independent study and a co-op, Rob researched with the Drexel Wireless Systems Lab’s Bellyband project under the direction of Bill Mongan (CS Lead Researcher) and Kapil Dandekar (PI). The project aims to develop a wireless, powerless alternative to the wired respiration sensors using RFID, smart garments, and signal processing. Rob developed a novel algorithm for detecting respiration rate from Bellyband’s signal. The adaptive algorithm reduced the respiration rate detection error by 90%. The system will enter clinical trials this month. After graduating, Rob intends to pursue a PhD focused on algorithms and automation.

Nicholas Trainor (BS/MS Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Engineering ‘19, Honors)
Honorable Mention

Nicholas is a junior chemical engineering student pursuing a Master’s in materials science and engineering. His first research experience was as a STAR Scholar working with Dr. Yury Gogotsi and the Drexel Nanomaterials Institute (DNI) on composites of MXenes and graphene for use in supercapacitors. He returned to DNI for his first co-op, synthesizing new MXenes and studying new applications for various MXenes. His second co-op was with Dr. Goran Karapetrov (Condensed Matter Group), growing and characterizing thin films of titanium diselenide, which he has continued during the academic year. For his third co-op, he will be working with Dr. Vibha Kalra on lithium-sulfur batteries. Nicholas plans on pursuing a PhD in materials science and engineering with a focus on large-scale synthesis of 2-dimensional materials.

Philip Weigel (BS Electrical Engineering ’20, Honors)
Goldwater Scholar

Philip is a third-year electrical engineering student minoring in physics. Philip first began his research during the STAR Scholars program working on the development of solid xenon bolometers with Prof. Michelle Dolinski. He continues to work with Prof. Dolinski on simulations of liquid noble gas purity monitors. For his first co-op, he worked at MIT under Prof. Janet Conrad and Dr. Daniel Winklehner. At MIT, he worked on the development of computational methods to improve cyclotron beam injection devices and the construction of a high-current ion source for the IsoDAR experiment. For his second co-op, he will be working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University on a xenon purification system for the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment. Philip plans to continue his research and pursue a PhD in Physics, focusing on the experimental side of elementary particle physics.


The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes the nation's top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields and is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these field. As Goldwater honorees, Robert, Nicholas, and Philip are among just 211 Scholars and 281 Honorable Mentions selected from candidates nominated by over 2,000 colleges and universities across the United States. 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 qualifications, which often garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 91 Rhodes Scholarships, 131 Marshall Scholarships, 100 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 Fellowships team during the fall and winter terms to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Michelle Dolinski, Assistant Professor, Physics
  • Rick McCourt, Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science; Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • J. Doug Wright, Associate Department Head and Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • Caroline Schauer, Associate Professor, Materials Science and 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 Dr. Meredith Wooten, Director, Center for Scholar Development.