Dowling ’25 Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Adin Dowling ’25, a triple major in Physics, Math, and the College of Integrative Sciences, is one of 508 math, science, and engineering students nationwide to be awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Dowling was among four students (sophomores and juniors) nominated by Wesleyan for the award and was selected out of a pool of 1,353 candidates nominated by 446 universities across the United States. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to identify, encourage, and financially support outstanding undergraduates interested in pursuing research careers in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Nearly all Goldwater Scholars intend to complete a PhD as their highest degree objective. Dowling is among the 47% of this year’s Goldwater Scholars who intend to pursue a research career in the sciences, while others will pursue research careers in mathematics, medicine, computer science, or engineering and materials research.

Adin Dowling ’25 presents a poster about his research

Dowling is a junior triple major in Physics, Math, and the College of Integrative Sciences from Hastings-On-Hudson, New York. He is deeply passionate about physics, taking graduate coursework, working as a physics T.A., and attending extracurricular colloquiums and seminars. He began his research under Dr. Tsampikos Kottos in the Wave Transport in Complex Systems Lab in the second semester of his freshman year. His research dives into the theories governing waves (sound, water, light, etc.) and aims to exploit these theories, in pursuit of discovering extreme phenomena, used for imminent societal needs such as communication and data manipulation. He has completed a project studying bound states in the continuum: a mathematical and experimental construction of a quasi-quantum potential aimed at trapping and altering the fastest thing in the universe—light. He is currently designing a system to act as a receiver protector to shield sensitive electronics from harmful high-power radiation by utilizing higher-order exceptional point degeneracies and self-induced nonlinearities. In his remaining summer and senior year at Wesleyan, Adin will complete a third research project under the same guise of wave theory exploitation in addition to writing an honors thesis in physics, summarizing his nearly four years of research.

Goldwater Scholars have gone on to win an impressive array of prestigious awards, becoming National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellows, National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellows, Hertz Fellows, DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellows, Astronaut Scholars, Churchill Scholars, Marshall Scholars, and Rhodes Scholars. The trajectories of Wesleyan’s recent Goldwater Scholars reflect this trend; for example, our 2022 scholar, Anna Fehr ’23, was named a NSF Graduate Research Fellow in spring 2023. The campus community can look forward to what Dowling will accomplish as he continues to progress in his scientific career.

When asked what advice he would give to a peer aspiring to become a Goldwater Scholar, Dowling says, “Get involved in research at Wesleyan early! Wesleyan is an amazing place to experience science research and getting involved early is the best way to jump start your career.”

The Fries Center’s Associate Director for Fellowships, Erica Kowsz, agrees with Dowling about the importance of getting involved in research early: “Wesleyan students can develop very competitive records for the Goldwater Scholarship, given the access that undergraduates at Wesleyan have to high level research in the sciences. However, the Goldwater Scholarship recognizes early achievement—it is awarded in the sophomore or junior year—so those who are planning a research career in science should seek out the earliest opportunity to get involved in faculty-led research on campus and/or through other programs like the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program.”

For those who are on campus this summer participating in research, the Office of Fellowships will offer an information session about Fellowships for the Sciences on Monday June 17, 2024 at the Fries Center for Global Studies. Or you can find more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, including first steps for applicants and deadlines, on the Office of Fellowships website.