Blue Bell’s Kara Kniezwski named Barry Goldwater Scholar at U.S. Naval Academy

The U.S. Naval Academy has announced that Midshipman 2nd Class (junior) Kara Kniezewski, 21, of Blue Bell was one of two midshipmen recently selected as 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholars. This year, more than 5,000 candidates competed for one of the 417 scholarships awarded.

Kniezewski is a Springside Chestnut Hill Academy graduate. At the Naval Academy, she is an astrophysics major and has earned a place on the Superintendent’s List for three consecutive years, the highest level of recognition for success in academics, conduct, military performance, and physical readiness at the Naval Academy. Kniezewski’s research is concentrated in heliophysics, the study of the sun, and her focus thus far has been on post-flare coronal rain, which occurs after a solar flare when plasma travels up newly reconnected magnetic loops and then falls back down to the photosphere when the plasma cools and condenses. Her work on this topic began during an internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center under Dr. Emily Mason. Kniezewski co-authored a paper on the subject that is awaiting publication. Kniezewski also co-authored a paper about her work on image reduction of quasars under Dr. Christopher Morgan.

At the Naval Academy, Kniezewski is the current women’s representative for the USNA Marathon Team and has been selected as next year’s team president. She recently qualified for the Boston Marathon, which was held earlier this week. Kniezewski was selected by her peers to receive the Navy-Marine Corps Association Leadership Award for her exemplary embodiment of the highest ideals of leadership. 

Kniezewski hopes to join the naval aviation community after graduation and commissioning, where she intends to use her work in heliophysics to help protect aviators from health risks in the solar environment. She eventually hopes to earn her doctorate and use her experience in the Navy to inform her research. 

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to Senator Barry Goldwater. The foundation provides scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. The Goldwater Foundation seeks to ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs to succeed in these critical fields and maintain its global competitiveness and security.

Photo: U.S. Naval Academy