Wabash College’s Alex Litts ’24 Earns Goldwater Scholarship

First Wabash student to win the scholarship in natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Wabash College student Alex Litts ’24 has earned a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of the United States’ oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

A native of Medina, Minnesota, Litts is the first Wabash student to earn a Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarship covers the cost of attendance (tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board) up to $7,500 per academic year through graduation.

“I am extremely honored to be awarded this scholarship and to be recognized in this way,” said Litts, one of seven recipients from the state of Minnesota. “I enjoy doing research, learning new topics, and gaining as much experience as I can. This award has been very motivating for me to continue working hard, learning, and conducting research. I imagine this scholarship will open many doors on this path through research toward graduate school and a Ph.D. in chemistry.”

Annually awarded to sophomores and juniors, the Goldwater Scholarship is the pre-eminent undergraduate award in these academic fields and often serves as a springboard to post-graduate STEM awards like the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Churchill, and non-STEM-based fellowships like the Gates-Cambridge, Marshall, and Knight-Hennessy Scholarships.

“I am incredibly proud of Alex for being named Wabash’s first Goldwater Scholar,” said Susan Albrecht, Wabash Fellowship Advisor. “He is the kind of student who asks clarifying questions and appreciates feedback. He takes great care with his work, which will serve him well in graduate school and in research endeavors down the road.”

A chemistry major with a minor in Latin, Litts is one of 413 Goldwater Scholars named during the 2022-23 academic year from 1,267 natural science, engineering, and mathematics majors nominated by 427 academic institutions.

Litts was one of 10 students attending Indiana colleges and universities to be selected for the Goldwater, and the only one of those 10 from a liberal arts college. He has conducted research in the labs of professors Joe Scanlon and Paul Schmitt in each of the last two years and served as a chemistry intern with Sherwin-Williams in the summer of 2022, and will serve again in that capacity for the Minneapolis-based company this summer.

“Alex is pursuing a career in research because he finds real joy in translating his careful technique and analysis into discovery and exploration,” said Laura Wysocki, associate professor of chemistry and department chair. “He has an outstanding balance of attention to detail and consideration of the broader perspective that convinces me that he has a fruitful career in research ahead of him. Very few students in my 12 years of teaching have been as focused on and delighted by research as Alex is.”

Litts plays bassoon in the chamber orchestra, is a member of the Wabash tabletop gaming club, serves as a chemistry stock room assistant, and as treasurer of both the chemistry club and Newman Center.

Litts is among the many Wabash men who have earned highly competitive fellowships in the last decade, including the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Obama Voyager, Yenching, and Point Foundation Flagship Scholarships. Additionally, Wabash students have earned the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress’ Presidential Fellowship and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, to go with 26 Fulbrights and 25 Gilman Scholarships.

“Since starting here, I’ve seen announcements about classmates earning national scholarships and never expected to earn one myself,” said Litts. “I am extremely grateful for all the chemistry department has done and for the support the professors have given me. I am very honored to be Wabash’s first Goldwater Scholar and I hope I am the first of many from the College.”