Loyola University Maryland

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Kevin Seltzer, '14, wins prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in the sciences

Kevin Paul Seltzer, '14, has been awarded a $7,500 scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program, which honors students from across the nation who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue Kevin Seltzercareers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

Seltzer, of West Chester, Pa., is a physics and mathematics double major who developed a passion for the sciences in high school. 

"There’s a tendency in society to see science just in terms of technology, but that’s never been how I’ve seen science," said Seltzer. "It’s really a way of thinking about the world, and I firmly believe that’s what makes science so useful to people because it allows us to step back and say, OK, there are certain problems in the world and if we use a logical process, that scientific method, we can get a definitive answer."

In his time at Loyola, Seltzer has completed two Hauber Summer Research Fellowships during which he conducted extensive research on the Casimir effect, an attractive force experienced by two uncharged metal plates when they are placed extremely close together. Casimir effect research is critical to ensuring that components of nanotechnology are structurally sound. Seltzer DJs a folk/alt-rock show on WLOY– Loyola’s student radio station–and he is the founder of Loyola’s chapter of Harambee, a social activism club that raises funds for a youth education foundation in Kenya.

Seltzer was mentored by Andrea Erdas, Ph.D., associate professor of physics, and he learned of the Goldwater scholarship through Loyola’s national fellowships office.

"Many of the science faculty tell me that Kevin could well be the finest physics major in Loyola’s recent history," said Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., director of the national fellowships office.

Seltzer was a Goldwater scholarship honorable mention in 2012. The Goldwater scholarship program was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and statesman. The creation of this program fosters and encourages excellence in science and mathematics, and provides a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research. Up to 300 scholarships are awarded each year, and monetary awards can be used for tuition, fees, books, and room and board in the subsequent academic year.

After he graduates in 2014, Seltzer plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, and eventually teach and conduct research at the university level.

"I want the opportunity to inspire young people to feel the same way I do about science," said Seltzer. "I'm confident this award will help me get there."

ISSUE 28, MAY 2013

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