CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three third-year undergraduate students at Oregon State University have been selected as 2024 Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Jose Naranjo Mendez of San Jose, Puerto Rico, Madalyn Gragg of Wamic, Oregon, and Roberto Ponce Velez of Silverton, Oregon, are the recipients. Oregon State has had 21 Goldwater Scholars in the past 11 years. Sixteen of those have come in the last six years, and OSU now has 48 honorees overall since the program’s 1986 inception.

Naranjo Mendez, Gragg and Ponce Velez are three of 438 Goldwater Scholars selected from more than 1,300 students nominated by 446 academic institutions in the United States.

Sophomores and juniors studying natural science, engineering or mathematics are eligible for the scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is the top undergraduate award in the majors it covers, said LeAnn Adam, OSU’s Goldwater campus representative, and applicants must be planning a career in research.

Each recipient receives a maximum of $7,500 to use for any part of tuition, fees, books, and room and board for the 2024-25 school year not covered through support from other sources.

Naranjo Mendez, a chemical engineering major who conducts bioresource research, plans to pursue doctorate in chemical engineering and study alternative options for plastic recycling that use sustainable sources, reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency.

Gragg, an OSU Honors College student majoring in mechanical engineering and physics, intends to obtain a doctorate in chemical physics. She aspires to discover novel physical properties within optoelectronic materials with the goal of producing environmentally friendly and affordable electronics.

Ponce Velez, majoring in fisheries and wildlife sciences, is eyeing a doctorate in fisheries biology and planning to conduct research involving the redband trout, native to the Pacific Northwest.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 in honor of Goldwater, a U.S. senator from Arizona for 30 years and the 1964 Republican nominee for president.

More information on the Goldwater Scholarship is available at

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039
[email protected]


LeAnn Adam, 541-737-1996
[email protected]


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