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Christopher Neal Named 2017-2018 Goldwater Scholar

Christopher Neal.CBE junior Christopher Neal was named a 2017-18 Goldwater Scholar, one of the nation’s highest, most selective awards for undergraduate students.

“Being named Goldwater Scholars means they have competed successfully with the finest undergraduate STEM students in the country,” said Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for each of them and, with three Goldwater Scholars in a single year, a clear indication of the quality of students at UT.”

The Goldwater Scholarship Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. It was designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. UT has had >17 students named Goldwater Scholars in the last decade.

Neal, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and the Tickle College of Engineering’s Joseph C. and Judith E. Cook Grand Challenge Scholars Program. He has done research with Thomas Zawodzinski Jr., the Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Conversion and Storage, and Senior Research Associate Gabriel Goenaga for more than two years. He has worked with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and numerous international companies. A member of the Chem-E-Car Team, Neal has served as the team’s captain for the past year. He is also a resident assistant in the new Stokely Hall.

His goals are to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering with a focus on electrochemistry. He wants to conduct research on alternative electrical energy storage devices (that is, upcoming battery technologies) and teach at the university level.

“Earning the Barry Goldwater Scholarship is perhaps the greatest honor I have ever received,” he said, adding that the scholarship is likely to open doors for him. “This scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to realize my full potential in research and academic excellence.”