Madison George ’23 named Goldwater Scholar

George is one of 417 students across the nation awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

Madison George ’23 has been named as a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship recipient. The engineering major, with a biomedical concentration, can now add another prestigious distinction to her list of impressive accomplishments, which include being a Lumen Scholar, Honors Fellow, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society member and track and field athlete at Elon.

Madison George ’23

The scholarship, awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, provides scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

“Through this experience, I hope and expect to develop my passion for biomechanical engineering, learn the process of real-world research and become a driving force in my industry,” George said.

The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most selective awards in the country, with only 417 students named as Goldwater Scholars from an estimated pool of over 5,000 students and 1,242 students who were nominated by their respective institutions.

Following graduation, George plans to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering with a concentration in biomechanics. Her ultimate goal is to design and construct track and field spikes for a major shoe brand.

She used her interest in biomechanics, specifically foot kinetics and potential shoe design, as the inspiration for her Lumen Scholar research, “Putting the Right Foot Forward: The First 3D Printed Pole Vault Spikes for Women,” under Associate Professor of Engineering Scott Wolter and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Shefali Christopher.

“During my freshman year in college, I used pole vault spikes for the first time and realized such shoes are not made in women’s sizes but instead are distributed as ‘unisex,’” George said. “Shortly into my first season, I fractured my foot and had to take several months off from my favorite hobby. I became dedicated to discovering a scientifically-backed gender-specific shoe design to foster gender equality in sports, prevent injury and enhance performance.”

The Goldwater Scholarship will allow George to pursue serious research and product development, initiate early exposure to the field of engineering and make a “real impact” in the sports and footwear industries.

Madison George ’23 won a Maker Hub Kickbox grant to design a women’s pole-vaulting shoe. She’s already 3D printed two early sole designs and is examining the materials she’ll use for her prototype.

“This award means I can continue doing what I love without boundaries,” George said. “It has opened doors for me to pursue my goals at the highest academic level, will spur advancements in my research and promote my personal development in college and beyond.”

George is the sixth Elon student to be awarded the Goldwater Scholarship following Ashlyn Crain ’22, Anna Altmann ’23, Mariana Kneppers ’18, Kelsey Van Dalfsen ’12 and Geoffrey Lynn ’07.

Goldwater Scholars have a history of going on to win other post-graduate fellowships, including the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Rhodes Scholarship and the Hertz Fellowship, among many others.

Elon students and recent alumni interested in the Goldwater Scholarship or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to contact the National and International Fellowships Office.