Augustana University Student Named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

Augustana University is proud to announce that Elizabeth Kiffmeyer ‘22, of Woodbury, Minnesota, was named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar — announced by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship & Excellence in Education Foundation via a press release on March 26.

In response to receiving the award, Kiffmeyer said, “I feel truly honored to be selected as a Goldwater Scholar. I deeply believe in the power of scientific research to address the most pertinent issues of our time, including the issues presented by neurodevelopmental disorders, which I have had the privilege to study as a student research fellow at Augustana. To me, scientific research represents the ability to uncover the underpinnings of a problem and create inventive, effective solutions for it through carefully-planned, strategic and methodical approaches. I am forever grateful to Augustana's faculty and staff, particularly Dr. Alexander Kloth, for their invaluable mentorship and guidance that made it possible for me to receive this award.”

Kiffmeyer, a double major in biology and psychology with a minor in history, is one of only 410 college students to be selected by the Goldwater Foundation, out of an estimated pool of more than 5,000 applicants from nearly 440 academic institutions across the U.S. She is also the only student from a South Dakota college or university to receive this award for the 2021-22 academic year.

"Elizabeth is a star example of an Augustana student; she's unafraid to engage with open-ended and often messy questions and she's eager and capable to share what she knows with her community," said Kloth, assistant professor of biology, as well as Kiffmeyer's research mentor and academic advisor. "I was fortunate to have Elizabeth as a student as I was starting my lab in the biology department. Elizabeth is one of, I hope, many budding young neuroscientists to graduate from Augustana."

The Goldwater Scholarship Program, created in honor of Sen. Barry Goldwater, is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. 

According to the Goldwater Foundation, Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Of the students who reported, 198 of the scholars are men, 207 are women and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. 

"The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and math in the U.S.," said Dr. Andrew Klose, assistant professor of chemistry and the Augustana campus representative for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. "Elizabeth had an impressive application, and we are delighted that she was chosen for an award. This award is a reflection of her impressive work and dedication, the mentoring of her research advisors and the strength of the programs in natural science at Augustana."

Kiffmeyer’s field of study is life sciences. Her career goal is to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience, conduct research on neurological disorders and teach at the university level. Including Kloth, she listed her mentors as Dr. Patrick Ronan, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of South Dakota, as well as Dr. Lisa Baye, assistant professor of biology at Augustana.

Program Questions: Contact Dr. Andrew Klose, assistant professor of chemistry and the Augustana campus representative for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.