headshots of Jonathan Unger and Torrey Saxton, smiling

Jonathan Unger and Torrey Saxton

Two students from Illinois State University have earned the prestigious 2018 Goldwater Scholarship. Torrey Saxton and Jonathan Unger from the University’s Department of Physics have been recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence Foundation.

Saxton, a junior from Alton, is a triple-major in physics, math, and computational physics. For his research, he works under the guidance of Associate Professor Allison Harris from Illinois State’s Department of Physics. Before joining Illinois State University, he spent four years on active duty with the Marine Corps. Saxton plans to get a Ph.D. in physics and conduct research in theoretical high-energy particle physics as well as study super-symmetry extensions of the standard model. He is also among the 15 undergraduates to receive a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates Internship this summer at CERN in Switzerland.

Unger, a junior from Bloomington, is a computational physics major. He currently works under the guidance of Neil Christensen, Illinois State’s assistant professor of physics, and Distinguished Professors of Physics Rainer Grobe and Q. Charles Su. Unger plans to get a Ph.D. in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, with the hope to pursuing a research career and teaching at a university.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to students who have outstanding potential and plans to pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. The honor includes a scholarship of $7,500 used for tuition, fees, books, or housing. This year, the scholarship recognized only 211 students nationwide as 2018 Goldwater Scholars.