Coe senior awarded prestigious McElroy Trust Fellowship

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2013-04-25 09:05:48 - General

Jason Maldonis '13

Coe College senior Jason Maldonis has been awarded one of two R.J. McElroy Trust Fellowships for graduate study beginning in the fall of 2013. Characterizing himself as a student who "loves to learn," Maldonis was selected from a field of six finalists who attend colleges and universities in northeast Iowa.

The fellowships, which carry a stipend of $10,000 per year, were established by the McElroy Trustees in 1983. They are designed to "encourage persons of accomplishment, intelligence, integrity and leadership ability to pursue challenging academic careers." Based upon satisfactory progress toward a Ph.D., the stipend may be renewed for two additional years.

This represents the fourth out of the past five years that a senior Coe student has received the prestigious McElroy Fellowship. In 2011, Sarah Anciaux was recognized with the award, while Tyler Mullenbach received the award in 2010 and Ben Franta was awarded a McElroy in 2009.

With majors in physics and mathematics and a minor in computer science, Maldonis will graduate with honors on May 12. This fall he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Maldonis' eventual career goal is to "improve people's lives" through research in materials science.

Beginning in the summer before his freshman year, Maldonis conducted numerous glass research projects in the Coe Physics Department under the tutelage of Coe Physics Professor Steve Feller. In the summer of 2011, he performed research at the University of Iowa with Coe Physics Professor Ugur Akgun. During this project, Maldonis helped to develop a fast, radiation hard scintillator for the Compact Muon Solenoid detector for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment at CERN - the European organization for nuclear research.

Maldonis developed and characterized a system of metallic glasses during a research internship at Corning Incorporated in Corning, N.Y., during the summer of 2012. Along with his scientific interests, he has also conducted research in mathematics.

Outside of the classroom, Maldonis has been awarded the Society of Physics Students Outstanding Leadership Award, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and has consistently been on the Dean's List. He is the recipient of numerous undergraduate scholarships. Maldonis has served as president and event coordinator for the Coe Physics Club, and planned Coe's largest scientific community outreach event, the Playground of Science.

Maldonis has co-authored a paper with MIT's Draper Laboratory on glasses for portable atomic clocks, and he is currently in the process of writing two papers on the structure and physical properties of borovanadate glass systems for publication in the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.

He has presented his research at the All-Iowa Glass Conference (2009) and the International Congress on Glass in Salvador, Brazil (2010). Maldonis has twice attended the Society of Physics Students Executive Council meeting in Washington, D.C., and he served on a planning committee for the 2012 Society of Physics Students National Quadrennial Congress.

"Jason is a superior student who is an excellent representative of a liberal arts college," said Feller. "He loves to learn and he succeeds at the highest level. We are proud of him."

The trust benefactor, R.J. McElroy, was a pioneer broadcaster who started KWWL and the Black Hawk Broadcasting Company in 1947. He died in 1965.