|Junior awarded Goldwater Scholarship
Natalie Lents fourth Centre winner in past six years
RELEASED: April 3, 2003
DANVILLE, KYCentre College junior Natalie Lents has been awarded a scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The award is the premier honor for undergraduates majoring in the sciences, mathematics or engineering.
Lents is one of five students from Kentucky selected for the Goldwater this year. She'll be awarded $7,500 to apply toward the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board for her senior year at Centre.
Lents, of Paducah, Ky., is majoring in mathematics and would like to pursue a Ph.D. in the field. She's considering teaching at the university level. She also wants to work to encourage the advancement of women in mathematics and the sciences.
Unsure if she had a chance going into the application process, Lents was "absolutely and totally shocked" when she learned she had won this week.
"I'm not surprised that Natalie was shocked," said Lents' advisor, Dowling Professor of Mathematics John Wilson. "She's very modest when it comes to her own abilities."
Lents felt her research experience at East Tennessee University this past summer might have been the critical component in writing her application essay. She studied a classic question in probability called "The Coupon Collector's Problem."
Associate Professor of Physics Phil Lockett has never taught Lents in class, but considered her to be a strong contender for the award.
"Natalie has done research and presented her work at national mathematics meetings," said Lockett, Centre's Goldwater faculty representative. "Her essays in the application were well written and thoughtful, and her letters of recommendation were outstanding. I believe it was the combination of all theses factors that resulted in her winning the scholarship."
Lents presented her work at the Big Sky Discreet Math Conference in Montana in September, and at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore in January.
"I think I was mainly inspired to become a math major because of the exceptional faculty members I met during my first year here," Lents said. "I find that the math faculty is incredibly open to interaction with students."
Outside the classroom, Lents is part of the Centre Percussion Ensemble and enjoys working in the glass-blowing studio. She's also on the dean's list.
Lents is the seventh Goldwater Scholarship winner from Centre since 1991. It marks the fourth time a Centre student has won in the past six years. The federally endowed Goldwater Foundation/Excellence in Education Foundation was established in 1986. For more, go to http://www.act.org/goldwater/.
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