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Two students awarded Goldwater Scholarships

By Kari VanDerVeen
April 25, 2012

St. Olaf juniors Benjamin Keisling and Sarah Ludwig, recipients of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, have traveled as far as Siberia and Norway to perform scientific research.

Two St. Olaf College students have been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2012–13 academic year.

Benjamin Keisling '13 and Sarah Ludwig '13 were chosen from a field of 1,123 applicants to receive one of the 282 scholarships worth up to $7,500. The Goldwater Scholarships are awarded each year to undergraduate students who have shown significant achievement and potential in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Since 1995, 31 St. Olaf students have been awarded this scholarship.

Michelle Frank '13 earned an honorable mention from the Goldwater Foundation.

Keisling, a physics major, is part of a student research team that spent the past two summers working with Professor of Physics and Environmental Studies Bob Jacobel to analyze the evolution of a subglacial lake in Antarctica. Last fall the students presented their findings at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting. Keisling also performed field work in Norway, measuring the seismicity of glaciers and how glacial processes work.

Ludwig, a chemistry and biology major, spent last summer in the Siberian Arctic researching the impact of carbon and nutrient transports on global climate change. Her work was part of the Polaris Project, a field course and research experience funded by the National Science Foundation. Ludwig is currently researching wetlands, with a specific focus on how various plant types influence wetland methane emissions.

After graduation, Keisling plans to pursue a Ph.D. in geophysics. He would like to one day model earth systems, with a focus on applications relating to climate change, geodynamics, and alternative energy. Ludwig also plans to attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in biogeochemistry, with the goal of eventually teaching at the university level and conducting research in polar ecosystems.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or