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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 13, 2019—Michael Curran, a junior at Williams College, has been named a recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year. The scholarship is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.
A mathematics major from Germantown, Tenn., Curran plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, with an emphasis on studying probability and analytic number theory. He hopes to eventually teach and conduct research at a university, where he can share his passion for exploring the questions that drive mathematics forward.
“The liberal arts college experience has allowed me to see many applications of the material covered in my mathematics classes and many of the problems encountered that motivate a lot of research in mathematics,” Curran says. “I’m interested in probability and analytic number theory because I’ve had the opportunity to see their applications in other courses and have been able to study some of the questions that motivate these fields.”
Among Curran’s prizes and awards are the Benedict First Prize in Mathematics in 2017 and CRC Chemistry Achievement Award in 2016. As part of a SMALL Undergraduate Research Project at Williams, he conducted independent research under the leadership of mathematics professor Mihai Stoiciu. Curran presented his project results at MathFest 2018, hosted by the Mathematical Association of America in Denver, Colo.
“Michael is truly exceptional in talents and accomplishments,” says Katya King, director of fellowships. “While pursuing his academic interests at Williams, he developed genuine intellectual independence and is a standout not just in mathematics but also in chemistry. He will be a valuable member of this year’s cohort of Goldwater Scholars.”
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.