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Shoreview, Minn., native named 2022 Goldwater scholar

Sydney Menne is one of two students from a North Dakota institution to have been selected for this year’s award

Sydney Menne, a UND junior, is a winner of the 2022 Goldwater scholarship. The scholarships are meant to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Two UND students have won Goldwater Scholarships, a federally endowed award that encourages students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering in the United States. The scholarships are awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, an organization that was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the lifetime work of the late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Sydney Menne, a Physics and Mathematics major, and Petroleum Engineering major Sabrina Sullivan were selected as Goldwater scholars. They are the only two students from a North Dakota institution to win a 2022 Goldwater award, the scholarship foundation reports. UND’s most recent Goldwater recipient was in 2013.

Menne, a junior, will receive a scholarship for her senior year that will cover tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500. Sullivan, a sophomore, will receive the same scholarship for both her junior and senior years.

“It is a distinct honor for the University of North Dakota to have two students – sophomore Sabrina Sullivan and junior Sydney Menne – selected as 2022 Goldwater Scholars,” said UND President Andy Armacost.

“Knowing this scholarship recognizes the top undergraduate researchers in the nation from among 1,200 nominees submitted by more than 430 institutions makes their accomplishment even more impressive,” Armacost said. “UND is proud of its undergraduates who consistently demonstrate their ability to thrive and compete at the highest levels of scientific discovery.”

UND Provost Eric Link agreed. “We are so proud of Sydney and Sabrina,” Link said.

“They are remarkable students, and their outstanding work is achieving national recognition through these Goldwater scholarships.  The scholarships are a credit to the students’ hard work and dedication, and to the opportunities here at UND for students to pursue academic excellence and get the support they need from faculty and staff.”

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs, said Yee Han Chu, Academic Support and Fellowship Opportunities Coordinator at UND. For example, Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 94 Rhodes Scholarships, 150 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and many other distinguished awards such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

About Sydney Menne

A native of Shoreview, Minn., Menne has won a slate of honors over the course of her UND career. Besides being an Honors student, she is also a McNair Scholar, a US MASTER Scholar and a member of the NASA Student Launch program.

Moreover, she was selected in February as a 2022 Brooke Owens Fellow. More than 1,000 students — many from Ivy League schools — applied for the prestigious international fellowship, but only 51 were chosen for the 12-week summer program that pairs students with experts at 36 top aerospace industries.

Menne will join the propulsion engineering team at Virgin Orbit in Long Beach, Calif., during her Brooke Owens fellowship.

“I am absolutely honored to be selected as a Goldwater scholar,” Menne said.

“Reading the award email, it felt so rewarding for all the progress I’ve made and the goals I have as a scientist to be recognized at this level. It’s a confirmation that everything I’m currently doing is putting me on a path to achieve my goals as a researcher and engineer.

“To know that I have the support of such a prestigious scholarship is an incredible feeling.”

Said UND’s Yee Han Chu, “With Sydney Menne at the helm, the future is bright for all.

“Sydney is exceptional in many ways. She can comprehend complex material quickly.  She has unique and varied interests.  She exudes a graceful calm as she undertakes any challenge.  She is one of the most talented students I have ever met on this campus.

“I can attest to the depth of her character, and am in awe of her ability to manage multiple campus and community duties while completing these very lengthy scholarship applications,” Chu continued. “I am thrilled that Sydney has been invited to join the Goldwater Scholar Community.  She deserves it.”

Thank you, Yee Han Chu and faculty mentors

Menne expressed deep gratitude to Yee Han Chu and the UND faculty members who’ve helped her along the way.

“If it weren’t for Yee Han, I never would have known about the Goldwater or considered applying,” she said.

“She has always been incredibly encouraging and supportive, focusing on the process of applying rather than the outcome.

“Next, to my three recommendation-letter writers: Dr. Tim Young, Dr. Yen Lee Loh, and Dr. Kanishka Marasinghe. All three have always been incredibly supportive of my learning and of opportunities such as this.

“And I’d also like to thank Ms. Carissa Green and Dr. Gisele Muller-Parker, as well as the UND Goldwater Committee (Dr. Wayne Barkhouse, Dr. Ryan Zerr, and Dr. Rebecca Simmons) for their invaluable feedback. Each and every person named here played a role in this award, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support I’ve received.”

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