Iowa State student named Goldwater Scholar

Nethmi Hewage

Nethmi Hewage

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University student has been named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar.

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 to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in STEM research.

A total of 417 Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of more than 5,000 applicants nationwide.

Nethmi Hewage, junior in chemistry who grew up in Matara, Sri Lanka, was selected as a 2022 Goldwater Scholar. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry and continue her research at a Carnegie 1 research university.

Hewage’s research interest lies in using materials science and solid-state chemistry to design new materials to find solutions for the energy crisis. She plans to one day become a professor.

The one-year scholarships are available to juniors and the two-year scholarships are available to sophomores. They cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. 

Iowa State candidates are selected by a faculty committee coordinated by John Milstead, coordinator of nationally competitive awards.

Iowa State’s Goldwater Scholarship Campus Committee included Kent Kerby, assistant dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Gloria Starns, teaching professor of mechanical engineering; Eric Underbakke, assistant professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; Kevin Schalinske, professor of food science and human nutrition; Brian Hornbuckle, professor of agronomy; Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research coordinator; and Elizabeth Beck, previous coordinator of nationally competitive awards.

Research, scholarship opportunities

Any ISU student interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship should contact John Milstead, coordinator of nationally competitive awards, at To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities, contact Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research coordinator, at