About a year and a half ago, Baylor Magazine featured then-Baylor junior Rachel Wilkerson in a series of profiles of current students titled “Faces of Baylor.” Wilkerson stood out as a top student from a looooong family tree of Bears that included at least 27 other Baylor alumni, from parents and grandparents to uncles, aunts and cousins.
In the story, Wilkerson talked about how she had found her niche as a University Scholar. The unique major allowed her to combine her many interests — physics, art, math and French, for starters — into one cohesive course of study. That work is paying off, as Wilkerson this month received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award in the United States for the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. (In addition to its own benefits, the award is often a stepping stone to other prominent awards like the Rhodes, Marshall and Churchill scholarships.)
With the Goldwater award comes a grant that will help Wilkerson complete her senior project on nonlinear dynamics. It sounds highly technical — and it is — but she’s not interested in it just for the theories involved. Wilkerson says that after graduating from Baylor, she hopes to conduct research in the field and use the science of complex systems to study slums and design projects for a non-governmental organization.
Sic ’em, Rachel, for putting your research to work!