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The University of Alabama

UA Students Receive Goldwater Scholarships

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama students continue to rank among the best in the country with three students chosen to receive Goldwater Scholarships – one of the nation’s most prestigious academic awards – and one student given an honorable mention.

UA Goldwater Scholars Hisham Ali, Sarah Johnson, Chelsea Raulerson (honorable mention) and Stephen Walker

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation selected UA students Hisham K. Ali, Sarah E. Johnson and Stephen A. Walker among 282 scholarship recipients nationwide. Chelsea ‘Raulie’ Raulerson of UA was named honorable mention.

“In the past six years, 20 of UA’s 24 nominees for Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded this prestigious scholarship or been named honorable mention (17 recipients and three honorable mentions).  I think that this is because we have truly outstanding students in the natural sciences and engineering on this campus and also because they receive wonderful mentoring from the faculty in those areas,” said Dr. Gary Sloan, UA professor and coordinator of prestige scholarships and awards.

The students were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science and engineering sophomores and juniors who were nominated by the faculties of their colleges and universities.

Each Goldwater Scholarship recipient receives up to $7,500 per year toward the cost of tuition, room and board, fees and books.

The Goldwater Foundation Scholarship Program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, and it is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

UA’s 2012 Goldwater Scholars are:

Hisham K. Ali of Muscle Shoals, an aerospace engineering major with minors in Computer-Based Honors and mathematics. Ali plans to use his research in Luminescent Photoelastic Coatings and experimental mechanics as a basis for his master’s and doctorate research. He plans to pursue a career contributing directly to spaceflight knowledge and spacecraft development as a research engineer and professor focused in the fields of spacecraft propulsion and structural design. A member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, Ali has received the Computer-Based Honors Outstanding Sophomore award, the Charles L. Seebeck Endowed Scholarship and the AIAA Outstanding Junior award among numerous other performance-based awards.

Sarah E. Johnson of Mesquite, Texas, majoring in mechanical engineering and history with a minor in Computer-Based Honors. Johnson is currently researching combustion systems aimed at improving the efficiency and emissions of alcohol-gas fuel blends during engine cold starts.  She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a doctorate and eventual career in research as a university professor with a focus on combustion and propulsion systems. A 2011 NOAA Hollings Scholar, she is a member of Tau Beta Pi and several other honor societies. She serves as chief justice for the UA College of Engineering Academic Honor Council, and is an officer in the UA sections of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She has received multiple awards, including Outstanding Freshman and Sophomore in the department of mechanical engineering.

Stephen A. Walker of Trussville, a chemistry major with a minor in Computer-Based Honors.  Walker’s research centers on an initiative to develop a predictive, mechanistic understanding of metal and actinide ion aggregation in aqueous solution as it applies to nuclear-waste storage and the reprocessing of spent fuels. He plans to earn a doctorate in pharmacology and establish a research career in the area of neuropharmacology with focus on studying the biochemical mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s in order to develop more effective drugs and treatments. Walker has earned a fellowship in the Computer-Based Honors program and been the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and Million Dollar Band Scholarship. He is a member of several honors societies and has earned numerous awards, including the Million Dollar Band Service Award and others for outstanding research in Computer-Based Honors, engineering and chemistry.

Honorable Mention

Chelsea ‘Raulie’ Raulerson of Houston, Texas, a biology major with minors in chemistry and Computer-Based Honors. Her research focus is on the swimming performance of a model organism, the mangrove rivulus. She plans to pursue a doctorate in cancer biology and a career as a professor to conduct extensive research of epigenetics as it relates to an individual’s susceptibility to certain cancers. Raulerson has received the Michael L. McDaniel Memorial Endowed Scholarship from the biological sciences department and the Jane Nix Outstanding Service Award from the Computer-Based Honors program. In 2011, her work was featured and recognized at the UA Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities conference.


The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Linda Hill, media relations, 205/348-8325,
  • SOURCE: Dr. Gary Sloan, professor of biological sciences and coordinator of prestige scholarships and awards, 205/348-8444,