Campus News: Student Receives Prestigious 2021 Goldwater Scholarship

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Student Receives Prestigious 2021 Goldwater Scholarship
Mattie Thomas - 4/13/2021

Student Receives Prestigious 2021 Goldwater Scholarship


Japheth Varlack, a senior mathematics major with music and computer science minors, recently received the national Goldwater Scholarship, awarded to college students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.


From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college students, 1256 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students were nominated by 438 academic institutions across the United States to compete for one of the 410 Goldwater scholarships awarded this year. Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs.


"Graduate school is something that has been on my mind for as long as I can remember," said Varlack. "For me, the Goldwater Scholarship is an affirmation that I'm headed on the right path, and I should keep going despite some insecurities. I'm extremely honored to receive this award, and I'm grateful for all of the faculty members who have supported me along the way."

Varlack plans to pursue a doctorate in pure mathematics, specifically algebraic number theory, and to conduct research in topics related to algebra or number theory while teaching at the university level.


Varlack credits much of his success to his mentors at Lee, including Dr. Richard Moy, assistant professor of mathematics; Dr. Jason Schmurr, associate professor of mathematics; and Dr. Kevin Ung, director of the McNair Scholars Program.


"Japheth is a fitting recipient for the national Goldwater award due to his relentless work ethic, ambitious research aspirations, and humbled maturity," said Ung, "This award raises the academic and research profile for current and prospective Lee University students who desire a close-knit community coupled with rigorous scholarly pursuits. This achievement embodies Lee's spirit of excellence and engagement we extend to all students."


Varlack, a McNair Scholar, spends his time on campus playing guitar, bass, and string bass for Lee's Chapel Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra, in addition to serving in Lee's tutoring center weekly.


The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. By providing scholarships to students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the nation needs in these critical fields.


The Lee University McNair Scholars Program is designed to support highly motivated scholars as they strive to achieve their educational goals by providing them with academic, financial, cultural, and social support. This program cultivates an interdisciplinary community of scholars who prepare for graduate school through seminars, workshops, campus visits, research experience, and academic conferences.


For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, visit


For more information about Lee's McNair Scholars Program, visit


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