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MSU Billings student wins Goldwater scholarship

James Unzaga Goldwater scholarship
Posted at 5:06 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 19:54:53-04

BILLINGS — James Unzaga, a junior at MSU Billings, has received the prestigious Goldwater scholarship for his work in the sciences.

Unzaga is studying chemistry and was nominated earlier this year for one of the most top scholarships in the STEM fields, which refers to science, technology engineering and math.

The scholarship is worth $7,500 per year for Unzaga's undergraduate career. He learned of the award March 26.

Unzaga, a Utah native and Billings West High graduate, beat out thousands of students from across the country and is now part of a select group of winners.

As a first-generation college student and the oldest of four, Unzaga strives to show his siblings that through hard work, you can achieve anything.

While remembering a time not too long ago, whenever he had to take public transportation to his classes his freshman year, Unzaga said Tuesday, “Now it’s my junior year, and I'm competing in national competitions in science so yeah, it’s a big deal to me."

Looking forward, Unzaga will be attending a Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU program, this summer in the Midwest to further his research skills in chemistry.

The scholarship is named in honor of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who served in the Senate for 30 years.