March 25, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State swimming and diving junior David Zoltowski was named the winner of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The Spartan captain is one of just two MSU students to receive the honor awarded to undergraduate students around the country by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.
“I’m very excited,” said Zoltowski. “I was really happy because it’s great to be recognized for my hard work. I think this will open up doors for me in the future. I’d like to thank the Student-Athlete Support Services here at Michigan State. They’re very helpful. Jim (Pignataro) and Jeremy (Flynn) have been great to me and Coach Gianiodis has also been very supportive of everything I’ve done.”
A native of West Lafayette, Ind., Zoltowski is a Big Ten Distinguished Big Ten Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten selection. He is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Eta Kappa Nu and an Honors Times Two mentor. The electrical engineering major works with an MSU professor conducting research using advance signal processing tools to study the functional connectivity networks of the human brain.
Zoltowski became just the 36th MSU recipient of the prestigious scholarship. He was also awarded the MSU Honors College National Scholarship, Walter R. Yates Memorial Scholarship and Arthur J. Harris Memorial Scholarship. Once he graduates, he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, conducting research combining electrical engineering and neuroscience to advance the knowledge of the brain.
“It means a lot,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “What means more than anything to me is that he came to Michigan State because of our team. Obviously, the academic opportunities here at Michigan State are endless, but he chose to come to MSU because of the swim team. I think that’s fantastic. I’m really proud of him because the work that he’s put in here has not slowed him one bit. It’s so highly visible. He’s only the 36th person in the history of this university to win the scholarship. It’s completely and totally earned. When you think about the time that he puts into swimming, because he races hard events too, it’s just impressive. He’s an incredible kid and I’m really happy for him.”
A multi-event swimmer for the Spartans, Zoltowski competes in the 200 and 400 individual medley, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle. He finished a career-best 34th overall in the 200 butterfly at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, swimming a personal-best time of 1:53.10. Zoltowski also posted a career-best time of 3:59.69 to place 35th in the 400 individual medley.
“I’m glad I’ve been able to do both research and swimming,” Zoltowski said. “I think it’s pretty unique. I’ve always been swimming my whole life, so I guess I don’t know what it’s like to have more time. I think it shows that when I’m done swimming and I have more time, I’ll be able to do even more.”
The Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.