Goldwater Scholarship Program*

Initial Bowdoin Deadline: November 11, 2016 (noon)
Campus Interview: N/A
Final Bowdoin Deadline: January 18, 2017 (noon)
Web site:
Campus Contact: Cindy Stocks, Kate Myall

* Information derived from

Description. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, 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 academic or research careers in these fields. It is expected that students selected as scholars will pursue advanced degrees, and nearly all Goldwater Scholars intend to pursue doctoral degrees.  In awarding scholarships, the Foundation Board of Trustees will consider the nominee's field of study and career objectives and the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution to his or her field. Students who plan to study medicine are eligible for a Goldwater Scholarship only if they plan a research career rather than a career as a medical doctor in a private practice.

Each year, the Trustees receive approximately 1,200 applications and in late March award approximately 300 Goldwater Scholarships to outstanding students, to be known as Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

Benefits. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Scholarship monies not used during one academic year are not transferable to the succeeding academic year. Junior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of two years of scholarship support, and senior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of one year of scholarship support. Scholars may opt to study abroad, but their Goldwater funding will be based on their U.S. institution’s budget.


  • Applicants must be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher education during the academic year in which they are applying. See the Goldwater website for detailed definitions of "sophomore" and "junior."
  • Applicants must have a college grade-point average of at least "B" (or the equivalent) and be in the upper fourth of his or her class. Typically, though, awardees have a GPA of at least 3.8.
  • Applicants must be a United States citizen, a permanent resident, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, a United States national. Nominations from permanent residents must include a letter of the nominee’s intent to obtain U.S. citizenship and a photocopy of the Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as the Alien Registration Card).
  • Applicants should be aware that the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs is involved with the campus review process.  Students with serious social or academic violations, such as those that are included as part of their permanent record at Bowdoin, are advised to consult with the Director of Student Fellowships and Research early in the process.  Students may also consult with their dean for guidance.

Bowdoin’s Internal Selection Process. Since Bowdoin is allowed to nominate only four students annually for the Goldwater, the Committee will review the materials listed below to select Bowdoin’s four nominees. Please submit the following materials to the Office Student Fellowships and Research by the “Initial Bowdoin Deadline” (see above):

  • Completed Goldwater Scholarship application. Please print this and hand deliver to Corey Colwill in Moulton 116.
  • Email to Corey Colwill ( or deliver in person with your application:
    • Nominee’s essay (confined to two pages [one side only] with a font size no smaller than 11 point). For complete details, go to the Goldwater site, click on "Apply Now", and then click on "Applicant Information and Instructions."  
    • Unofficial academic history from Polaris
    • Signed and witnessed "Permission Form and Waiver"
  • Have three recommenders submit draft letters of recommendation to the Office of Student Fellowships and Research. Faculty members may either electronically submit their letters to Corey Colwill ( or give them to the student in a sealed envelope, in which case the student is responsible for delivering the letters to the Office of Student Fellowships and Research by the "Initial Bowdoin Deadline". 

The items listed above can be either hand-delivered to Corey Colwill in 116 Moulton Union or electronically submitted as PDFs to Corey Colwill (  Either means of delivery is equally acceptable.

Please be reminded that Bowdoin’s Honor Code applies to the fellowship application process.

Materials for the Final Application. If you receive Bowdoin’s nomination, it is your responsibility to continue revising and collecting your materials and to remind your recommenders of all relevant deadlines. By the "Final Bowdoin Deadline," a Bowdoin nominee must:

  • Electronically submit the online Goldwater Scholarship application, which includes:
    • Nominee application
    • Three recommendations. The applicant will list three recommenders and their email addresses in the online application. Once the student has completed and submitted his or her application, the Goldwater application system will send  emails to the recommenders with instructions on how to upload their letters.
  • Provide an original and one copy of their application’s supporting documents (listed below) to the Office of Student Fellowships and Research. The Office of Student Fellowships and Research will submit these items and the Institutional Nomination, which the College is responsible for completing, to the Foundation on the nominee’s behalf.
    • Nominee essay (confined to two pages [one side only] with a font size no smaller than 11 point). For complete details, see the "Guidelines for the Nomination Process" found at the Goldwater Scholarship website.
    • Official transcript from nominee’s current institution, including fall semester if available. (The Bowdoin Registrar's Office will have fall transcripts available by mid-January, but it can take up to a week to receive your transcript after submitting your request.  Applicants must plan accordingly.)
    • Official transcript(s) from other institutions which the nominee attended with grades for courses taken.
    • Voluntary Survey Form (optional) – original copy only
    • Copy of the nominee’s Permanent Resident card and letter of intent to become U.S. citizen, if nominee’s citizenship status is permanent resident.

More about the selection process.  An independent review committee appointed by the Foundation will evaluate all valid nominations and recommend the most outstanding nominees from each state for consideration by the Foundation Board of Trustees. Nominees are evaluated on demonstrated potential for and commitment to a career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and outstanding academic performance.  All nominees and will be notified of their final status by the end of March.

Please be reminded that Bowdoin’s Honor Code applies to the fellowship application process.


Liam Taylor '17

Liam is a Biology major with a focus on ecology and evolutionary biology. He is also a computer science minor, hoping to understand how computational strategies can inform biology and vice-versa. Liam spent his first two Bowdoin summers at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island, where he helped continue the decades-long investigation into the demographics and breeding biology of the Leach's Storm-Petrel. He spent his third summer on campus studying the computational behavior and evolution of animal spatial systems. In his senior year, he will pursue an Honors project investigating the population biology of two other major Kent Island study species: Tree Swallows and Savannah Sparrows.


Ellis Ratner '14
A computer science and physics major with a mathematics minor, Ellis is primarily interested in robotics and artificial intelligence, focusing on localization, mapping, and planning algorithms for autonomous robots. He has spent the past three summers conducting research and developing robotic systems. He is a member of Bowdoin’s RoboCup (robotic soccer) team, the Northern Bites, and plans on attending graduate school in robotics and artificial intelligence and continuing research in this area. (Read More)

For a comprehensive list of Bowdoin fellowship winners, click here.