You are here

  • James Cox, 2018 Goldwater Scholar

    James Cox named a 2018 Goldwater Scholar

Two juniors at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities have been recognized as Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. James Cox, a chemistry major in the College of Science and Engineering, and Anna Nagel, an ecology, evolution and behavior major in the College of Biological Sciences, will receive scholarships worth up to $7,500 for their senior years.

This prestigious, competitive scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. This year, 211 students were recognized as Goldwater Scholars out of 1,280 nominees from 455 colleges and universities nationwide. 

James Cox

James Cox, a junior from Long Lake, MN, began studying chemistry as an eighth grader through online video courses. As a senior in high school, he was awarded a silver medal in the Science Olympiad. At the University of Minnesota, he joined the lab of Professor Joseph Topczewski , where he has participated in several research projects involving allylic azides, and is the first author of an article that appeared last year in the European Journal of Organic Chemistry. Last summer, James was a Heisig/Gleysteen research fellow in the Department of Chemistry. This year, he is the sole researcher on a project to synthesize large aromatic molecules. He plans to complete a doctorate in organic chemistry and conduct research to improve synthetic strategies. James, a student in the University Honors Program, is also completing a Spanish minor, and has been a tutor for both chemistry and Spanish courses. He also serves as president of the oSTEM student group, and he plays the pipe organ.

"James has been a terrific undergraduate to have in the lab," said Professor Topczewski. "He is clearly talented, dedicated, hard working and, best of all, he is fantastic to work with."

Anna Nagel

Anna Nagel, a junior from Plymouth, MN, plans to complete a doctoarte in evolutionary biology and use mathematical modeling to conduct research in evolutionary theory.  She is currently investigating mate choice and reinforcement by building population genetics models with Professors Emma Goldberg and Yaniv Brandvain of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and she spent last summer studying the competitive responses of bluestem grasses to drought conditions in Kansas.  She also studied conservation practice in Patagonia and has taught conservation and ecology at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota. Throughout high school, Anna participated in the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program, and she will complete a minor in Mathematics. On campus, she is in the University Honors Program and has been a teaching assistant and tutor for genetics and organic chemistry. She is also a certified EMT, a wilderness first responder, and an aerialist and volunteer with Circus Juventus and Maroon Circus.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senato Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. Since the inception of the program, 64 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have been named Goldwater Scholars. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office of National and International Scholarships by visiting or by contacting Timothy Jones at For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, visit