Mareena Franke receives Goldwater Scholarship honor

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-04-20 16:00:00 - General

Mareena Franke
Mareena Franke

Coe College sophomore Mareena Franke of Neenah, Wisconsin, has received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship competition. Students such as Franke who are nominated for the Goldwater and who show exceptional promise, but who do not receive a scholarship, may receive an Honorable Mention.

Franke is a double major in chemistry and physics, with a minor in mathematics. She was nominated for the Goldwater by the Coe Chemistry Department and the college's Goldwater Committee. Franke is a founding member of the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WinSTEM) chapter at Coe. She is also actively involved in the chemistry and physics clubs at Coe, as well as runs in Kohawk cross country and track.

During the application process, Franke received support and encouragement from several Coe faculty members, including Chemistry Professor Scott Stoudt, with whom she has conducted organic chemistry research, Physics Professors Steve Feller and Ugur Akgun, Special Assistant to the President Marie Baehr, and Coe Professor Amber Shaw, who also serves as Coe's national fellowship advisor. Franke works with Physics Professor Firdevs Duru to digitize data from a NASA-funded research study on the ionosphere of Mars.

Although still an underclassman, Franke has taken full advantage of the academic and research opportunities offered at Coe.

"Coe has prepared me well, especially with the research opportunities available at the college," said Franke. "I was amazed at being able to start research my first summer and the ability to explore research opportunities in both chemistry and physics."

With the Honorable Mention award signaling her competitive application, Franke is poised to reapply for the Goldwater Scholarship next year.

"It was cool to get the honorable mention this year, and I’m looking forward to applying for the Goldwater again next year," said Franke.

In the future, Franke plans to enroll in graduate school to earn an advanced degree in organic chemistry, and eventually pursue a career in research or chemical engineering in industry. A graduate of Neenah High School, she is the daughter of Maripat and Mark Franke.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Many of the scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering and computer disciplines. Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 86 Rhodes Scholarships, 125 Marshall Awards, and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

In its 21-year history, the foundation has awarded more than 5,800 scholarships worth approximately $56 million dollars.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.