NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center




New Mexico State University student named Goldwater Scholar

New Mexico State University junior Brian Lusby has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious $7,500 award that recognizes exceptional students for their academic excellence in mathematics, engineering and science.



New Mexico State University junior Brian Lusby has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious $7,500 award that recognizes exceptional students for their academic excellence in mathematics, engineering and science. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)


The scholarship, established by the U.S. Congress in honor of Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, was designed to foster outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Only 323 scholars were chosen for the 2006-2007 academic year out of the more than 1,000 that applied.

"It's nice to know that I can put NMSU's name out there," said Lusby, a chemical engineering major and mathematics minor. "The more people that hear about our university, the more they want to come here. The more people that come here the more valuable my degree becomes."

The scholarship will pay Lusby's tuition, fees, books and room and board.

"This is an extremely competitive scholarship," said Jason Ackleson, associate dean of the Honors College and director of the Office of National Scholarships. "Brian is a superb student. He met all of the qualities of a Goldwater Scholar."

Lusby, a 2002 Mayfield High School graduate, said his ability to stay disciplined through his educational career has to do with his dream of becoming an astronaut.

"Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be an astronaut. I've worked very hard to get myself closer to that goal," he said.

Lusby's father had a hand in his son's career goal. Barry Lusby, who works for a NASA contractor, cultivated his son's love of "all things space" by taking him out to look at the stars and constellations when he was little.

Lusby said his father and his mother, Pat Bianco, who works in the payroll office at NMSU, have always been an encouraging influence in his life, and their support has made a difference in his success at NMSU.

"They always emphasized trying your hardest," Lusby said. "They could've made me get a job when I came to college, but they didn't. Because of them, I was able to completely dedicate myself to my studies and be successful."

There are other influential people in the scholar's life. Lusby credits Martha Mitchell, head of the chemical engineering department, with mentoring and advising him in his studies.

"Brian is so self-motivated and driven," said Mitchell. "No matter what he keeps trying and perseveres."

Lusby is a member of the Flying Aggies, an undergraduate research team that designs, develops and conducts micro-gravity experiments as part of NASA's Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. He has worked at the Johnson Space Center in a cooperative education position.

In addition to his academic interests, Lusby played soccer for five years in the Mesilla Valley Soccer League. He said he enjoys astronomy and photography.

Lusby will soon be applying for graduate school and is looking at the University of Houston as a possible option.

All of this, he said, with one purpose in mind: to become an astronaut.