Three Williams College Students Named 2016 Goldwater Scholars

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 13, 2016—Williams College juniors David Burt, Sarah Fleming, and William Kirby have been named 2016 Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The students are among 252 recipients of the scholarship, which is awarded to college sophomores and juniors nationwide who excel in mathematics, science, or engineering. Scholars receive awards of up to $7,500 to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Williams Junior Ruby Froom of New York City also received an honorable mention.

Burt_David'17Burt, a native of Middlebury, Vt., is majoring in mathematics and is engaged in ongoing research with professors Steven Miller of Williams and Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh of North Dakota State on gaps between zeros of L-functions associated to holomorphic cusp forms on GL(2). Next year, he will write his thesis with Miller on number theory. “I am honored to receive the fellowship and appreciate all of the research opportunities provided by the Williams math department,” Burt said. After graduation, Burt plans to pursue graduate study in mathematics and then conduct research in analytic number theory and teach at the university level.

Fleming is a mathematics major from Brookline, Mass., who last summer worked in aFleming_Sarah'17 commutative algebra group led by Professor Susan Loepp. Next year, she plans to complete a thesis with Loepp on commutative algebra. “I am honored and humbled to have received this award, and I could not have done so without the incredible support of the math department,” Fleming said. After graduation, Fleming plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics with the goal of becoming of professor at a small liberal arts college and conducting research in commutative algebra.

Kirby_William'17Kirby is from Williamstown, Mass., and is a physics major who worked last summer and over Winter Study with Professor William Wootters on expanding the mathematical model of quantum entanglement, which has implications in the fields of quantum computing and cryptography. Next year, Kirby will work on his senior thesis on quantum computation and quantum algorithms. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and conduct research in quantum information and computation while teaching at the university level. “I am grateful to my professors and my parents, who have made my education possible,” Kirby said.  “The research opportunities at Williams are outstanding, and in particular I want to thank professors William Wootters and Charles Doret, my research supervisors over the past two years, and Professor Frederick Strauch, with whom I will conduct my senior thesis.”

Katerina King, director of fellowships at Williams, said it is extraordinary for three students in one year to be named Goldwater Scholars. “The caliber of our nominees shows the strength of our research opportunities for undergraduates,” she said.

This year’s recipients bring to 46 the number of Goldwater Scholars from Williams since 1989. Last year’s winner, Reid Pryzant, is completing his senior year at Williams. The Goldwater Foundation was founded in 1986 in honor of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The scholarship program is designed to foster and encourage exceptional students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.