Three CSU students receive Goldwater Scholarship Awards

CSU students Chloe Brekhus (left), Claire Lundstrom and Jacob VanArsdale were named Goldwater Scholars for 2023.

Three Colorado State University students are the recipients of Goldwater Scholarships, the country’s top undergraduate award dedicated to fostering the next generation of research leaders in natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.

CSU undergraduates Claire Lundstrom and Jacob VanArsdale — both in the College of Natural Sciences — and Chloe Brekhus in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering each received a Goldwater Scholarship Award from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The students were among the 413 sophomores and juniors selected from a pool of 1,267 undergraduates nominated by 427 institutions.

CSU was one of two Colorado institutions to receive this prestigious honor from the Goldwater Foundation in 2023, with three scholars. Colorado College was the other institution, with two scholars. Over the past five years, CSU has had the most Goldwater Scholars in the state, with a total of 12.

Goldwater Scholars

Jacob VanArsdale is an Honors Program student majoring in physics. He is interested in light-matter interactions at the interface between precision metrology and quantum simulation.

At CSU, he has developed an ultrastable optical fiber link between CSU and a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) radio station to transfer an atomic clock frequency reference, which will be used in future precision measurement experiments at CSU. Currently, he is also building an optical ion clock that will serve as a probe to search for dark matter. VanArsdale additionally is involved in providing support to CSU’s Little Shop of Physics, an innovative science engagement program for K-12 students.

After graduation, he said he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, with a focus on precision measurements applied to quantum simulation. He hopes his research will help us understand complex quantum systems to aid in developments to solve pivotal world problems, such as slowing climate change, finding chemicals to cure Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and providing sources of safe, clean energy.

Claire Lundstrom is an Honors Program student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. At CSU, her studies have centered on a desire to understand the deep complexities of the biological sciences.

Her research at CSU has included working to better understand polyubiquitin chains, an essential marking mechanism for regulating crucial cellular processes like targeting protein substrates for destruction and responding to DNA damage. In addition to her research, Lundstrom has volunteered for Food for Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding children in Adams County, Colorado.

Lundstrom said she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry to one day conduct pioneering biological research in an academic or industrial setting.

“Congratulations to Claire and Jacob, two remarkable students in the College of Natural Sciences,” said Simon Tavener, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Their accomplishment of being awarded Goldwater Scholarships is further underscored by the fact that they are two of only five students at Colorado institutions to be given this prestigious honor, and less than 10% of students who are eligible for this award receive it.”

Chloe Brekhus is an Honors Program student studying biomedical and mechanical engineering.

As a gymnast, Brekus said she has seen and experienced musculoskeletal injuries for which effective treatment options are limited. Through orthopedic engineering, she wants to make a positive impact on athletes’ lives by researching new technology to better treat such injuries.

At CSU, Brekus also started the CSU Gymnastics Club during her freshman year in 2019. Since then, the team attended its first national competition in 2021. After she graduates from CSU, Brekus said she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and conduct research in orthopedic treatments and technology.

“Chloe has been a key undergraduate researcher in the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Lab since 2020, and she has significantly contributed to many of our industry-sponsored medical device research studies,” said David McLean, dean of the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. “She has demonstrated excellent time management by successfully juggling earning a full undergraduate, dual-degree in engineering while also performing graduate-level research. She is a remarkable student, and we look forward to seeing the great things she will do as a doctoral student and Goldwater Scholar.”

Goldwater Scholarship Program

Established by Congress in 1986, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation operates an educational scholarship program designed to provide opportunities for outstanding U.S. students with excellent academic records and demonstrated interest in, and potential for, research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

The scholarship award covers eligible expenses up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Scholarship recipients nominated as sophomores can expect to receive a maximum of two years of support.