UM Student Lands Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

April 06, 2017

Jed Syrenne

MISSOULA – University of Montana student Jed Syrenne recently won a Goldwater Scholarship, the top national award for undergraduate research in science, math and engineering, for the 2017-2018 academic year. Syrenne is UM’s 17th Goldwater Scholar.

Soren Ormseth, also a UM student, won honorable mention in the Goldwater competition, UM’s fifth since 2007.

Syrenne, a junior from Missoula, majors in neuroscience (cellular and molecular option) with a minor in mathematics. He is the son of Mary and Yvan Syrenne of Florence and a 2014 graduate of Missoula’s Hellgate High School.

He wants a career at the intersection of mathematics and biomedical research. Syrenne plans to complete a doctorate in neuroscience and then teach and research bioinformatics, focusing on signal transduction in neuronal cell lineages.

“Jed’s sparkling curiosity and early, joyful embrace of important research helped him to win this prestigious award,” said Laure Pengelly Drake, UM’s coordinator for Writing Center programs, external scholarships and advising. “He also benefited from the serendipitous timing of UM’s new neuroscience program.”

Soren OrmsethOrmseth, a junior from Great Falls, majors in physics and mathematics with a minor in philosophy. He is the son of Teresa and Doug Ormseth of Great Falls and graduated in 2014 from Charles M. Russell High School. Ormseth plans to earn a doctorate in theoretical physics, teach and conduct research in quantum field theory.

“Soren’s dedication to learning and his range of intellectual abilities and interests will make him a wonderfully thoughtful, creative researcher, teacher and academic colleague,” Pengelly Drake said.

The Goldwater Trustees awarded 240 Scholars this year out of 1,286 applicants from 470 institutions. The scholarship, established by the federal government in 1986, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.

Contact: Laure Pengelly Drake, coordinator for UM Writing Center programs, external scholarships and advising, 406-243-6140,; Jed Syrenne, UM student, 406-552-7632,; Soren Ormseth, UM student, 406-799-5695,