OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A mechanical engineering major’s wind energy research gave Oklahoma Christian University its first Barry Goldwater Scholar.
A student in OC’s Honors Program, Parker LaMascus, was one of just two students selected from Oklahoma and among just 240 sophomores and juniors honored nationwide. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.
“We are incredibly impressed and proud of Parker’s academic accomplishments,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “His pursuit of excellence is a natural fit with his Christ-like spirit, and he serves as an inspiration to students and staff alike.”
Goldwater Scholars have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship, and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.
“Parker is such a wonderful student and researcher,” said Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. “In his application, he emphasized his ongoing wind energy research that is so relevant to Oklahoma and the nation. Parker is a great symbol of the flexibility and specialization that ambitious students have at a small, Christian university.”
The one-year scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and housing up to $7,500. Scholars are chosen among students from 2,000 colleges and universities, and most recipients plan to obtain a Ph.D.
Byron Newberry, dean of OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, believes LaMascus has a bright future as a researcher.
“Parker has been one of our strongest students from his first day,” Newberry said. “He made a name for himself doing research here and abroad, and he is extremely involved in and out of the department. I could not think of a more deserving individual.”
Congress created the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986. It serves as a memorial to the work of Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has granted 7,921 scholarships worth $63 million.
A previous OC student, Nicholas Conley, was named among 300 honorable mentions for the scholarship in 2012.
Oklahoma Christian is ranked as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.
OC offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.