EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State swimming and diving senior David Zoltowski has been named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. The Spartan captain is trying to become the 17th Michigan State student to be honored with the prestigious scholarship and the first Spartan student-athlete to be honored since Molly Brennan in 1982.
The Rhodes Trust is the oldest of the major international competitive award foundations. MSU has produced 16 Rhodes Scholars since 1903. The Rhodes trust gives 32 undergraduates the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England.
Zoltowski will head to Indianapolis, Indiana later this month to interview for the scholarship.
“I’m very excited,” said Zoltowski. “I’ve been waiting to hear about this for a long time. I’m really excited to prepare further and go to Indianapolis to interview. I’d like to thank head coach Matt Gianiodis, Ashley Green from the scholarships office, and Jim Pignataro, among others. It would be too much to list everyone I would like to thank.”
A native of West Lafayette, Indiana, Zoltowski is a Big Ten Distinguished Big Ten Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten selection. He is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Eta Kappa Nu and an Honors Times Two mentor. The electrical engineering major works with an MSU professor conducting research using advance signal processing tools to study the functional connectivity networks of the human brain.
“I chose Michigan State because Coach Gianiodis gave me an opportunity to swim in the Big Ten Conference,” said Zoltowski. “I majored in engineering because of the important skills the major develops. I’m studying the brain as an application to my research because I find it very interesting and want to learn more about developmental disorders.”
After he graduates from Michigan State, he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, conducting research combining electrical engineering and neuroscience to advance the knowledge of the brain.
Earlier this week, Zoltowski was nominated for the Churchill Scholarship. The Winston Churchill Foundation’s Scholarship program was established in 1959. The scholarship gives 14 American students a chance to pursue a degree in engineering, mathematics, or the science in Churchill College at the University of Cambridge.
Zoltowski is looking to become Michigan State University’s 17th Churchill Scholar.
“I have never been more proud about anything here at Michigan State,” said Gianiodis. “This is fantastic, it is great for the university. I think it speaks volumes for our academic programs here at Michigan State. From an administrative standpoint, from an athletics standpoint, everything about this University I think is fantastic. I think David has a good chance of getting it too. He is without question the hardest worker we have ever had here in my 18 years at Michigan State. He is fully without question deserving of this honor. No one has worked harder to get something like this and it has been truly earned.”
“David is a proven leader and scholar,” said student-athlete support services director Jim Pignataro. “He has exemplified the true meaning of the term student-athlete. We continue to celebrate his academic accomplishments, and are in awe of his commitment to his research and the sport of swimming.”
In March, Zoltowski became the 36th MSU recipient of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. He was also awarded the MSU Honors College National Scholarship, Walter R. Yates Memorial Scholarship and Arthur J. Harris Memorial Scholarship.
A multi-event swimmer for the Spartans, Zoltowski competes in the 200 and 400 individual medley, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly 500 and 1000 freestyle. This season against Iowa, he posted a career-best time in the 1000 freestyle, with a time of 9:36.94. He finished a career-best 34th overall in the 200 butterfly at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, swimming a personal-best time of 1:53.10. Zoltowski also posted a career-best time of 3:59.69 to place 35th in the 400 individual medley, which is the eighth-fastest time at Michigan State.
The above is a press-release submitted by Michigan State.