A Berry College student who is working at NASA this summer, has earned the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
Rising senior Parker Roberts is one of 496 elite college students from across the United States to receive the 2019-20 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater is one of the oldest and most prestigious scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Established by Congress in 1986 in honor of Senator Barry Goldwater’s service as a soldier and statesman, the foundation strives to help upperclassmen who desire to pursue research careers and intend to obtain a Ph.D. The goal of the program is to ensure the U.S. has highly qualified individuals in these fields.
Roberts is a physics major from Roswell, Ga., who has always been fascinated by the laws that govern the physical world. He has been conducting research alongside several mentors, and has presented his research at national conferences throughout his time at Berry. His mentors at Berry have included Associate Professor of Physics Charles Lane and former Berry professors Scott Carr and Shawn Hilbert. This year 5,000 students were nominated for the Goldwater.
“It is a high honor to be awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. The award includes a generous financial scholarship, as well as carrying with it a prestigious and selective name that will benefit my search for graduate programs in the coming year,” he said. “To receive the Goldwater Scholarship is to be inducted into a community of Americans who have done great things for the world by courageously pushing forward the bounds of what is known and possible. I find it simultaneously inspiring and humbling to be granted this opportunity. It is as much a celebration of my hard work so far as it is a call to greater service.”
Rounding out his Berry experience, the track and cross country athlete, is also president of the Society of Physics Students. Along with the opportunities at Berry, Roberts has also pursued his passion for physics during the summer.
“Last summer, I had the blessing of doing research with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a national lab that works toward creating a sustained nuclear fusion reactor,” Roberts said. “I was inspired by the passion and hope that the plasma physicists there had as they sought to solve the world’s energy problems by better understanding and controlling plasmas, and I fell in love with this field of research.”
This summer, he will be working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. He will be a part of the research and testing of a powerful new hall thruster, a type of plasma rocket that will power future NASA space missions. Roberts plans to obtain his Ph.D. in plasma physics after graduating from Berry.
“My goal is to contribute to the development of new technologies that will help humanity explore our universe and power our societies in grander ways than ever before,” Roberts said.
Written by Public Relations Student Supervisor Megan Benoit