Chloe Makdad, a sophomore Mathematics major at Butler University, is among this year’s winners of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. One of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships for students in STEM fields, the honor is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in science, math, and engineering.

While Makdad doesn’t know yet if she will stay in academia or move to an industry-based role, she knows she wants to conduct research in the field of functional analysis.

“In that realm of mathematics, you really get to delve into some problems that are like puzzles,” she says. “While the process can be difficult, it’s really rewarding.”

While Makdad applied to several schools, she ultimately attended Butler for its welcoming math department, which she felt really emphasized student success.

“At Butler,” she says, “I’ve also been given the opportunity to study a wide range of mathematical ideas, including statistics and computer science, which has really diversified my view of what mathematics can be used for.”

The Goldwater Foundation selected 396 scholarships for the 2020 competition, choosing from a pool of 1,343 undergraduates nominated by 461 different institutions.

Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship provided a sense of affirmation for Makdad.

“I have a lot of the capabilities and the background that it takes to succeed in mathematical research,” she says. “Butler is a smaller institution, so the fact that I was selected for a national award along with students from bigger STEM schools was something that definitely gave me a confidence boost moving forward with my career.”


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