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Barrett Honors student Alex Gutierrez wins Goldwater Scholarship


April 25, 2012

Alex J. Gutierrez, a junior mathematics major at Arizona State University, has been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. The scholarship, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, provides up to $7,500 per year to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board.

Gutierrez, a student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, was one of only 20 math majors nationwide who received the Goldwater Scholarship this year. He plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in math in 2013 and continue on to graduate school, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a doctorate in math, becoming a math researcher and teaching at the university level.

“I aspire to a research career in which I apply mathematical insights to current problems,” Gutierrez said. His professor and research mentor believes Gutierrez is well on his way.

“He is mature and independent, with outstanding mathematical background. He has already produced good quality research and has the potential of becoming an excellent mathematician,” said Rodrigo Platte, an assistant professor and Gutierrez’s mentor.

Gutierrez currently is working on important and practical research aimed at using mathematical analysis to improve the way magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) works. This research focuses on image reconstruction and could have implications for the medical use of MRI scanning to detect injuries and abnormalities. He also has done research called network flow analysis in which he studied the functions and interactions among players on NBA basketball teams.

The Goldwater Scholarship is named for Barry M. Goldwater, a five-term member of the U.S. Senate from Arizona and a 1964 presidential candidate. The scholarship is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering and is considered the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.