Last March, roommates Luke Guerdan and Evan Teters were two of three Missouri residents awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for 2018. Now, nearly seven months later, the pair is as dedicated to their research as ever.
Guerdan and Teters were among the 211 winners selected from a pool of 1,280 natural sciences, mathematics and engineering students nationwide. The program covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board, totaling up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
For both, the opportunity has catapulted their research – and their confidence in it.
“I’ve continued the same research I was doing when I got the Goldwater Scholarship – I’m developed preprocessing for our image tracking and 3D construction pipeline,” Teters said. “It’s made me more confident in what I’m doing and feel like what I’m doing is valuable.”
Not only is Teters focus on making his preprocessing available for lab use, he’s also looking ahead. The Springfield, Mo., native is busy with graduate school applications and the beginning stages of a new project. And, according to him, the scholarship has supported his lates tendeavors.
“The biggest way it’s helped me is to be more competitive for applying to grad schools and fellowships,” he added. “And the financial gain has just helped me focus on research more and spend more time on that.”
While Teters has continued to move forward with his pre-Goldwater project, Guerdan largely has the scholarship to thank for getting his off the ground in the first place.
“I hadn’t done that particular research before the application,” he said of his current research, which assesses the success of a sales call based on audio. “Actually, writing the application gave me the time to conduct my ideas and directions to pursue and research those directions, and now I’m actually working on a proposal that I suggested originally.”
Since nabbing the honor last spring, Guerdan went on to work in Berlin through the DAAD Research Internship in Science and Engineering program. It was in Germany that the Computer Science and Psychology double major studied computational methods for understanding how the brain works while the body moves around through space.
The Goldwater win may have given him an extra push to pursue his interests and the financial reward to do it. But according to Guerdan, he doesn’t want the attention to blurry his focus.
“It was really awesome, but after a month or two I just found myself back to the day to day of research,” he admitted. “I have a little more confidence now and a little more financial freedom, but really, day to day I want to keep doing the work that I’ve been doing. And keep doing it as well as I can. I don’t want the award to be a distraction from that.”
By the looks of it, the honor is only continuing to propel these Goldwater Scholars and their burgeoning careers.