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KSU engineering student earns prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

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Derek Price II, a Kennesaw State University junior, majoring in mechanical engineering,  has been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. The scholarship is presented each year to the nation’s top undergraduate scholars in the study areas of sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Price, from Stone Mountain, is one of 417 recipients selected this year, He follows the path of four other KSU students before him that also earned a Goldwater scholarship including Jiexi Liao in 2013, Biya Haile in 2019, Trae Dunn in 2020, and Angel Vasquez in 2022. Price said, “Receiving this scholarship is a great honor and a testament that shows hard work and dedication does pay off. This recognition has provided me with the confidence to continue to pursue an impactful engineering career. I would like to thank the Office of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships, the Office of Research, SPCEET, KSU Journey Honors College, and all of the faculty members who supported me in this process and during my time as an undergraduate, as I would not be where I am today without them.”

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the United States Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. The purpose of the program 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.

Price belongs to numerous student organizations, including the KSU Aerial Robotics Competition Team, the University chapter of the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the Kennesaw Society of Black Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

Price also participates in the KSU Journey Honors College, where Dean Karen Kornweibel has watched Price grow into a top-flight researcher. “We are incredibly proud of Derek, who is the fourth Kennesaw State undergraduate — and third honors student — to receive a Goldwater since 2018. Derek’s award is an excellent testament to his significant academic accomplishments, to KSU’s dynamic undergraduate research culture, to the dedication of faculty mentors across our institution, and to the efforts of our Office of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships.

Price, who professes a love for math and science, says he wants to pass that love along to other minority students, hoping to inspire the next generation of underrepresented students to courageously pursue careers in STEM. 

Price also plans to pursue a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and to continue his research into aeronautics, controls, and robotics at a national laboratory. 

“I would encourage undergraduates to challenge themselves and gain hands-on experience through research,” he said. “KSU has so much to offer in terms of classes, research and extracurricular activities, and I’ve gained so much from participating fully.”

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