Culbertson named K-State’s 84th Goldwater scholar

MANHATTAN — Matthew Culbertson, senior in physics and mechanical engineering, Manhattan, is Kansas State University’s 84th Goldwater scholar.Culbertson received the prestigious recognition from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater from Arizona, the scholarship was awarded to 413 college students across the country for the 2023 competition. Awardees receive up to $7,500 annually for college-related expenses. Culbertson has active undergraduate research projects and intends to pursue a career in mathematics, science or engineering — a requirement of the scholarship.“With K-State’s long history of talented students winning the Goldwater Scholarship, we are so pleased to add Matthew to that group,” said Beth Powers, director of K-State’s Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. “He was selected from a pool of over 5,000 students in the STEM disciplines who are planning research-focused careers in their fields.”Culbertson, a member of the University Honors Program at K-State, is involved in several research projects at K-State with Amir Bahadori, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and Steve Hsu keystone research scholar.The project Culbertson submitted for the Goldwater focused on the creation and programming of a random positioning machine for use with K-State’s TRIGA Mark II nuclear reactor to model the combined effects of radiation and non-Earth gravities on a cell sample without actually sending samples into orbit.Culbertson said the pathing program he designed for the machine generated paths more quickly than the previous system and allowed for the selection of various different relative gravities for the cell sample to experience, including Martian and Lunar gravities.He plans to present this research at the national American Nuclear Society annual meeting this summer. The project is supported by the Collaboration of Excellence in Tumor Microenvironment Studies Award from K-State’s Johnson Cancer Research Center and a grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.Culbertson has also conducted research on the radiation shielding systems for spacecraft used in space exploration. He hopes to earn a doctorate in nuclear engineering.Matthew Culbertson is the son of Anne and Christopher Culbertson and graduated from Manhattan High School.

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