UA Students Receive Goldwater Scholarships

Ria Domier and Josh Moon, both studying chemical and biological engineering at The University of Alabama, are 2013 Goldwater Scholars.
Ria Domier and Josh Moon, both studying chemical and biological engineering at The University of Alabama, are 2013 Goldwater Scholars.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Four University of Alabama students were recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation earlier this month for accomplishments in their science and engineering studies.

Two of those students are part of the 2013 class of Goldwater Scholars.

The foundation awarded scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year to Ria Domier and Josh Moon, both chemical engineering majors, and selected chemical engineering student Michael Bolus and David Gillespie, a double major in electrical engineering and physics, for honorable mention.

The 271 Goldwater Scholars this year were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. 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.

The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books along with room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

In the past three years, nine of the University’s 12 nominees for Goldwater Scholarships were awarded this prestigious scholarship, and the other three nominees received honorable mention, said Dr. Gary Sloan, UA professor and coordinator of prestigious scholarships and awards.

“This is because we have truly outstanding students in the natural sciences, math and engineering on this campus and also because they receive wonderful mentoring from the faculty in those areas,” Sloan said.

Domier and Moon join six other students from the UA College of Engineering honored as Goldwater Scholars since 2005.

“For the College of Engineering to have two winners this year speaks volumes to the quality of the students in our college, the outstanding commitment of our faculty to education and the wonderful facilities we have on campus,” said Dr. Charles L. Karr, dean of engineering.

UA’s 2012 Goldwater Scholars are:

Ria Domier
Ria Domier

Ria Domier of Davis, Calif., is studying chemical and biological engineering and has researched multi-phase microfluidics working on projects with applications to the petroleum and fine chemical industries. Working with Dr. Ryan Hartman, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, Domier designed microreactor systems to study the formation of gas hydrates, or a frozen suspension of water and gas that can form costly clogs in gas pipelines, and broke apart asphaltene molecules found in crude oil. She also worked with Dr. Kevin Shaughnessy, chair of the chemistry department, to design and build a microfluidic system to quicken a specific chemical process.

She hopes to become a chemical engineering professor researching regenerative medicine. A part of the University Scholar’s program, Domier plans to graduate in 2014 with a bachelor’s and master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honors society, along with the honor societies Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. She is the recipient of a UA Presidential and National Merit scholarships along with a College of Engineering Scholarship. Domier is also a member of the Alabama gymnastics team where she is a two-time Scholastic All-American and two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.

Josh Moon
Josh Moon

Josh Moon of Arlington, Tenn., near Memphis, is a chemical and biological engineering major who has researched the design of synthetic groups of inorganic materials, carbon capture and experimental characterization of materials in an engineering environment. Working with Dr. David Dixon, the Robert Ramsay Professor of Chemistry at UA, Moon uses quantum mechanically-based calculations on high performance supercomputers to understand the synthesis of inorganic materials for applications in catalytic materials and energy technologies.

He has also worked with Dixon using similar methods to study reactions of buried carbon dioxide emissions with water and minerals. Through an NSF REU program with Dr. Jason Bara, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, Moon used computing power coupled with experimental synthesis of chemicals to find an optimal solvent to capture carbon dioxide emitted from power plants. He is set to be a co-author on published articles in all three research areas.

Moon plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering, eventually conduct research in material design in industry and later teach at the university level. A Computer-Based Honors students, he is a member of the chemical engineering honor society Omega Chi Epsilon and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Out of high school, he received National Merit, UA Presidential and UA Rampone Engineering scholarships.

Honorable Mention

Michael Bolus
Michael Bolus

Michael Bolus, of Mountain Brook, studies chemical and biological engineering with a second major in Latin. Working with Dr. Margaret Kim of electrical and computer engineering, Bolus conducts research with terahertz radiation, working toward medical applications for imaging as well as chemical recognition.

He plans to pursue a dual M.D. and Ph.D., and he hopes to use medical training with doctoral training in engineering to guide research in advanced medical imaging as well as the development of new therapeutic methods for sight restoration.

Professionally, Bolus hopes to teach and conduct research at an academic medical center. He will be the president of the UA chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honors society, and is also a member of the Society of Engineers in Medicine. He was recently inducted as a member of Mortar Board, the senior national honors society. Bolus is also a baritone in the University’s a cappella group No Strings Attached. He is the recipient of a Marce Fuller Endowed Scholarship and a UA Presidential Scholarship.

David Gillespie
David Gillespie

David Gillespie, of Huntsville, is a double major in electrical engineering and physics. Working under Dr. Yang-Ki Hong, the E. A. Larry Drummond Endowed Chair of Computer Engineering, Gillespie helps develop novel miniature magnetic antennas, which are in high demand for current wireless communication systems. Prior to UA, he also worked for Haysland Development Co. in Huntsville, creating a method and system for GPS map-tracking that was implemented by the company.

He plans to get a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in acoustics before working in the acoustics industry and, eventually, teaching at the university level. He is a member of several honor societies including Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honors society, and Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical engineering honor society. Gillespie is also actively involved in numerous student professional organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, where he will be president next academic year. A University Honor’s students, he received a Presidential, College of Engineering Leadership and Barr Physics scholarships from the University.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Mitchell, Portz and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,, or Roots Woodruff, athletic media relations, at 205/348-6084,