The Goldwater Scholarship program was established by the United States Congress to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics, as well as encourage students to pursue careers in these fields. Goldwater Scholars are selected annually on the basis of academic merit from a field of more than 1,100 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
The one- and two-year scholarships awarded to the 317 undergraduate recipients for the 2006-07 academic year include reimbursements for tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
"I feel honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious award, and I hope this helps to promote the sciences here at Wittenberg," Jara said.
Reflecting on his experience at Wittenberg to date, Jara credits Assistant Professor of Chemistry Justin Houseknecht and Associate Professor of Biology Margaret Goodman with encouraging him within his major of biochemistry/molecular biology. Houseknecht helped him obtain a summer internship with Wight-Patterson Air Force Base Research Labs in 2006, which exposed him to the field of computational chemistry while allowing him the opportunity to experience government research.
Just as importantly, Goodman has helped him to see the fun side of science.
"My greatest passion is having fun," Jara said. "I've always held the belief that if I'm not having fun with the things I'm doing then something is wrong. Science classes have always provided me with an educational environment in which I could discover how the world works.
"Looking back, I cannot see myself in any other field - science really is the field where you never truly grow up."
Post graduation, Jara would like to attend medical school and perhaps specialize in molecular medicine. His experience at Wittenberg has prepared him well.
"The best thing has been the educational opportunities offered to me," Jara said. "Quite often I feel that people hold the misconception that small private schools are not able to compete with larger big name schools.
"Not only do we as Wittenberg students have the chance to interact with great faculty, but if we apply ourselves, there are many unique opportunities available."
Written By: Kelly Juravic '08
Photos By: Robbie Gantt
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