Published on April 15, 2011 by Emily Hart  

Samford University student Jesse Kawell, a junior computer science major from Hoover, Ala., has received honorable mention for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Kawell was one of the inaugural group of University Fellows at Samford in 2008.

The scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the field of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Andrew Lampkins, associate professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department, explained that the “scholars are selected by a rigorous application process--one that requires not only a detailed listing of academic achievements, research experience and community involvement, but also a series of essays.”

According to Lampkins, the proposal Kawell wrote focused upon the advancement of artificial intelligence into artificial consciousness. He gained first-hand experience with the topic while performing research with associate professor Steve Donaldson. Kawell worked with Donaldson in summer 2010 as part of the Alabama Power Foundation research fellowship program.

On receiving the award Kawell said, “This honor represents the hard work so many people have put in to my education and experience. I thank God and my family, as well as all of my teachers and professors who helped me reach this point. All of the work I have done so far has been exciting, but I am most excited about what I can do in the future in the fast-growing industry of computer science. I hope this honor is only the beginning of an educational and productive future.”

“Jesse Kawell personifies the key qualities the Goldwater Foundation is looking for, which is no doubt why his application was awarded honorable mention,” Lampkins said. “His academic record is impeccable, but what likely set his application apart from his peers was his research proposal. .  This experience enabled Jesse to write a cutting-edge proposal, which made clear that he is poised to make a significant impact in computer science in the future.  Jesse is extremely deserving of this honor.”

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater R-Ariz., who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Lampkins coordinates Samford’s involvement in the Goldwater Scholars process.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.