Published: April 19, 2024

CU Boulder students Luke Coffman, Claire Ely and Delaney McNally and are among 438 college students from across the United States in 2024 to be awarded Goldwater Scholarships, which reward sophomores and juniors who are actively conducting research in math, science and engineering. 

Coffman, a junior from St. Charles, Missouri, majoring in physics and mathematics with a minor in quantum engineering; Ely, a junior from Denver, majoring in chemical engineering; and McNally, a junior from Loveland, majoring in chemical and biological engineering, join 48 previous CU Boulder Goldwater Scholars and will receive up to $7,500 for the 2024–25 academic year.

“Dr. Anne Dougherty and I are thrilled to see three CU Boulder students honored as Goldwater Scholars,” said Deborah Viles, director of the Office of Top Scholarships. “All three have made remarkable progress in their research at CU under the guidance of enthusiastic and supportive mentors. We can’t wait to see how their work continues to influence humanity.”

Luke Coffman

Coffman’s research lies in quantum information theory which studies the limits of communicating, transforming or retrieving information in non-classical systems. His focus is on entanglement, a phenomenon where the whole is unexplainable solely by its parts. This encompasses work at JILA and at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC).

Currently, he works at Oak Ridge National Laboratories on distilling entanglement, making quantum lemonade from quantum lemons, collecting weak entanglement, and concentrating it, for teleportation or encryption. Outside his research, Coffman serves as one of the co-presidents for the Society of Physics Students and the vice president for the Community of Support for Marginalized Students (COSMOS) in the math department.

Coffman extends his thanks to Graeme Smith at IQC/JILA, Jacob Beckey and Murray Holland at JILA, and Joshua Combes in ECEE for their support in research and in his application.

Claire Ely

Ely studies alternative battery technologies (aqueous zinc metal batteries) using earth-abundant materials and safe electrolytes for grid-scale energy storage. She conducts her research as part of the Toney Group at CU, which uses materials characterization techniques to understand renewable energy technologies.

Ely says the mentorship she’s found in the Toney Group has been invaluable, both for research and getting through school. She is grateful for the support of Lacey Roberts, Mike Toney and Samuel Marks for their endless support and guidance, as well as the scholarship liaisons at CU, Deborah Viles and Anne Dougherty for their help throughout the process.

Delaney McNally

McNally’s research in the Anseth Lab focuses on using biomaterials for tissue regeneration. She investigates how magnetic and mechanical forces influence intestinal stem cell development. Using these forces, the lab hopes to build an in vitro model to better understand intestinal cancer.

Outside of research, McNally is part of the Presidents Leadership Class and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She thanks Kristi Anseth, Laura Macdougall, and Kaustav Bera for their incredible mentorship throughout her research. She’s also grateful to her family for their constant support.

Applying for the Goldwater Scholarship

Students who will be sophomores or juniors in the fall and who are engaged in research in math, science and engineering are encouraged to apply next year. Contact and visit the Goldwater Scholarship website for more information.

The Goldwater Foundation was established in 1986 in honor of Sen. Barry Goldwater. The scholarship program is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.