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SPIE Student Members receive Barry Goldwater Scholarships

16 April 2015

SPIE Student Chapter Members Mitchell Kirby of Michigan Technological University and Travis Sawyer of University of Arizona have been named Barry Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Honoring the late Senator Barry Goldwater, who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years, the scholarship covers up to $7,500 in tuition, room and board, books and fees during the academic year. Kirby and Sawyer are among 260 sophomores and juniors from the United States who were selected based on outstanding academic qualifications that have gathered the attention of post-graduate fellowship programs.

Kirby, who is majoring in biomedical engineering, plans to go on to a Ph.D. program and conduct research on biomedical optics and photonics. Kirby is the co-author of three papers on biomedical optics presented at SPIE Photonics West 2015.

Kirby's research advisor, Sean Kirkpatrick, has high praise for his undergraduate student. "The research Mitch is doing in our lab is really cutting edge, it's graduate-level work," Kirkpatrick says. "The results that he is producing will likely transform aspects of how we non-invasively image blood flow and perfusions (the delivery of fluids through an organ or tissues) in humans."

Sawyer is pursuing a degree in optical sciences and engineering at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences. He aspires to earn a Ph.D. in image processing, research machine learning and image processing, and teach in a university. Last year, Sawyer received a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).

Also among the Goldwater Scholarship recipients is Andrew Wei of University of Texas Dallas, who is the co-author of a paper on top-gate organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and circuits to be presented at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015. Wei is interested in a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and his career goals are to conduct research in the development of flexible optoelectronic devices and teach at the university level.

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