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Math major receives prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

| Denise Olson

From a pool of more than 5,000 applicants and nominated students across the country, a UW-Eau Claire student has been awarded a 2019 Goldwater Scholarship, the eighth Goldwater award to a UW-Eau Claire student in the last 12 years. 

Tyler Gonzales, a mathematics major from Eagan, Minnesota, was named among the 496 students nationwide to receive the prestigious award, and one of six in Wisconsin.

Established by Congress in 1986, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation honors the life and work of Sen. Barry Goldwater. It was created to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in math, natural sciences and engineering. This year's awards brought the total of scholarship funding over the years to more than $68 million since 1989. 

Tyler Gonzales, mathematics Goldwater scholar 2019

Tyler Gonzales, mathematics major and 2019 Goldwater scholar, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in research mathematics and teach at the university level.

"Tyler is one of the strongest mathematics students that I have encountered during my time as a professor," said Dr. Carolyn Otto, associate professor of mathematics, who wrote a nomination letter for Gonzales' application.

"His enthusiasm for learning all aspects of math is unparalleled in our student body. Tyler has taken more math than some of our majors take in all of their four years. The Goldwater Scholarship will allow him the resources to focus on researching mathematics and contributing significantly to the profession. I am excited to see him succeed as a research mathematician." 

While his interest and talent in mathematics began early in high school, it was the undergraduate collaborative research at UW-Eau Claire that truly ignited a passion in Gonzales for the discoveries and rewards of a career as a research mathematician. 

"Once I began learning more mathematics, and doing research here at UW-Eau Claire, things fell into place and I have been thoroughly enjoying it ever since. I would eventually like to become a professor of mathematics and share the passion for research and mathematics I have with the world," Gonzales said. 

To qualify for this sought-after scholarship,  students must attend a campus with a Goldwater campus representative (Karen Havholm of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs); they must be a sophomore or a junior with a 3.0 minimum GPA; and they must intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, math or engineering. Gonzales will receive a full two-year scholarship from the Goldwater Foundation, funding designated to help covers costs of tuition, fees and books.

The vast majority of Goldwater award winners go on to obtain a Ph.D. and Gonzales intends to do just that.

"I'd love to get my Ph.D. in mathematics at either Oxford or Princeton, so I'm going to work as hard as I can to do that," Gonzales said.

We have a feeling that he will come up with the right equation to make it happen.

Photo caption: Tyler Gonzales is one of just six Wisconsin STEM students to earn the 2019 Goldwater Foundation Scholarship, a prestigious award designed to encourage students to pursue research careers in STEM fields.