Baldwin A Baker University junior from Shreveport, La., has become the college's first Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner.
Dawn Gardner, a biology major, this week was named one of 285 Goldwater recipients nationwide. She's the only student from a private university in Kansas to receive the scholarship, which will provide $7,000 for tuition and fees during Gardner's senior year.
"I found out two days ago from my advisor," Gardner said this morning. "He didn't come out and tell me, he just said, `Congratulations.'"
Gardner was interviewed by telephone from the Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill., where she is interning this spring and summer, working with plant ecologists studying prairie flora.
She was one of 1,300 math, science and engineering students nominated for the scholarship, named in honor of the Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. The scholarship is among the most prestigious awards for undergraduates.
Gardner, 20, is the daughter of Bruce and Carolyn Gardner, Shreveport. Her father is an engineer for Exxon Corp., and her mother teaches at a public elementary school in Shreveport.
After finishing her internship, she said, she would return to Baker for her senior year.
"I like that it (Baker) is small and that the professors take a personal interest in me," she said. "They're willing to help me with such things as Goldwater."
Gardner said her post-graduate plans included pursuing a doctorate in ecology and animal behavior.