MSU’s Dunne selected for prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State Presidential Scholar and senior mechanical engineering major from Starkville has been selected to receive the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Studio portrait of Reese Dunne
Reese Dunne (Photo by Megan Bean)

Reese A. Dunne is the 19th Mississippi State student to be recognized with the Goldwater Scholarship since the Goldwater Foundation’s inception.

This year, 1,256 students from 438 institutions were nominated, with the Goldwater Foundation naming 410 new Goldwater Scholars, including Dunne and four others from Mississippi higher education institutions.

David Hoffman, interim director of the Shackouls Honors College Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, said the Goldwater is one of the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarships for STEM students with significant research experience and a passion for making important research contributions in graduate school and beyond. He said Dunne is “clearly one of the best amongst an extremely competitive pool of student researchers from across the country.”

“Mississippi State is so proud of Reese’s accomplishments and excited for him to continue participating in important research,” said Hoffman, who also serves as an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures.

Hoffman attributed Dunne’s success to a variety of undergraduate research opportunities, including work with John C. Malone Assistant Professor Lediju Bell as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University. Dunne also has conducted research in the labs of Matthew Priddy, MSU assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Dipangkar Dutta, a professor in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the university’s winner of the 2021 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

Hoffman said Dunne also has received “excellent” mentorship from MSU Professor Tommy Anderson and MSU Associate Professor Don Shaffer, who both teach in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English. Anderson, former director of the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences and interim dean of MSU Libraries. Shaffer also serves as mentor to MSU’s Presidential Scholars, recipients of the university’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships.

A member of MSU’s cross country and track and field teams, Dunne has benefitted from the honors college’s support since his freshman year when he enrolled as a recipient of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Presidential Endowed Scholarship. Also receiving the James Carl and Hazel Forbes Endowed Scholarship through the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, Dunne was one of five nationwide Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute recipients selected in 2020. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, conduct interdisciplinary research on biomedical-based projects and teach at a major research university.

For more on MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, visit; the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering at and; MSU Athletics at

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