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04-03-2008

Two More Clarkson University Students Selected As Goldwater Scholars

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/goldwater2008. jpg ]

Junior Ryan T. Watkins, an aeronautical engineering from Ballston Spa, N.Y., and junior Sayuri Yapa, a mechanical engineering major from Hannawa Falls, N.Y., have both been awarded Goldwater Scholarships. Including Watkins and Yapa, 19 Clarkson students have received this highly coveted award since the scholarships were established in 1986.Goldwater 2008

Only 52 of this year's 321 scholarships were awarded to engineers. The scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

A graduate of Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) High School, Ryan has been a Presidential Scholar for all five of his semesters at Clarkson. "What distinguishes Ryan is his love for the practice of engineering and his drive to succeed," said Honors Program Director David M. Craig. "He loves the applications of knowledge. He certainly will have as distinguished a career in graduate school as he is having at Clarkson. He has a fine intelligence, natural curiosity, and a wonderful work ethic."

Last summer, Watkins did research at Dalian University of Technology in China on numerical simulations of sea ice movement in the Bohai Sea. "The source of approximately 30 percent of China's oil, the Bohai Sea is helping to fuel China's booming economy" says Watkins. "However, in the winter months, ice cover hinders the performance of offshore structures pumping oil and causes unsafe working conditions for the personnel. Through the use of computational tools, I was developing a model in which sea ice movement could be predicted, improving the economics and safety of offshore structures."

Yapa is the third person in her family to win a Goldwater Scholarship. Her sister Nadeeka Yapa, a 2005 Clarkson graduate, and Nadeeka's husband, Keith Jackson, a 2005 Clarkson grad, are also Goldwater Scholars. A graduate of Potsdam Central High School, Sayuri Yapa has been a Presidential Scholar for all five of her semesters at Clarkson.

With her art, athletics, and academics, Sayuri has an unusually diverse combination of abilities and talents, says Craig. "She has a rare talent for research, a natural gift. Its root seems to lie in her ability to apply knowledge from one field to an entirely different one. She possesses strong intelligence, promising leadership skills, and a wide variety of academic and personal interests."

Last summer, Yapa was funded by the National Science Foundation as a visiting research assistant at Hiroshima University in Japan, where she did research in the characterization of the soft x-ray charger for use in nanoparticle size classification.

Yapa's current research is in aerosol sampling technology. She is working with Prof. Suresh Dhaniyala and conducting research for her Honors undergraduate thesis. "In my research, I use a technique called Differential Mobility Analysis (DMA) which uses the balance of electric field and particle drag to size-select particles. I am researching a new type of DMA that has been developed in our laboratory. Its improved performance has been demonstrated theoretically, but not yet experimentally." She is also working on advanced inversion algorithms that accurately account for particle and flow non-idealities in the instrument.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

Photo caption: Clarkson University juniors Ryan T. Watkins (right) of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Sayuri Yapa, of Hannawa Falls, N.Y., have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships. Including Watkins and Yapa, 19 Clarkson students have received this highly coveted award since the scholarships were established in 1986.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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