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  POSTED ON: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 8:46 AM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Midshipman 2nd Class (junior) Joseph Wiedemann, 22, of Bethesda, Maryland was recently selected as a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar. This year, over 5,000 candidates competed for one of the 396 scholarships awarded.

Wiedemann is a Walt Whitman High School graduate and a Western Reserve Academy alumnus. At the Naval Academy, he is a pure physics major and a Trident Scholar in the Naval Academy’s Class of 2021. He is currently conducting research on novel theoretical approaches to the phenomenon of the coupling of atomic emitters and photons in solid state materials as part of his Trident Scholars project. During his time at the Academy, Wiedemann has had the opportunity to work on several research projects in the field of optics, including a project during his Plebe (freshman) year entitled, “Laser Beam Focus with a Spatial Light Modulator.” During his youngster (sophomore) year, Wiedemann presented a project entitled, “Scintillation of Laser Beams Carrying Orbital Angular Momentum in Real Atmospheric Turbulence in a near-Maritime environment,” at the 2019 Direct Energy Professional Society annual meeting, which he later published in the journal Optics Communication.

During the Academy’s 2019 summer break, Wiedemann had the opportunity to intern with the United States Naval Special Warfare Command in Virginia Beach where he worked on novel communications systems for applications in Naval Special Warfare. This coming summer, he plans to intern with the Office of Naval Intelligence, where he will shadow a junior officer and assist in the daily duties of the intelligence cycle.

In addition to his extensive research, Wiedemann is a drummer in the Trident Brass Jazz Band, a member of the USNA Marathon Team, and the operations officer for the Academy’s Information Warfare Club. This past semester, he was a Squad Leader for his company and is currently the 7th Company First Sergeant. In his free time, he tutors his company and battalionmates in math and physics, and assists with the physics department’s midshipmen group study program.

Wiedemann hopes to go into the surface warfare or submarine community when he enters the fleet. He believes both communities would provide opportunities to solve the diverse technical challenges he finds interesting. Wiedemann aspires to eventually earn a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and conduct research in quantum sensing for medical applications to aid in the development of novel treatments. He hopes to teach at the university level and assist sailors in pursuing higher level education after completing his time serving the Navy.

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.

Celebrating 175 years, the U.S. Naval Academy was founded in 1845 and is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.  More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Report has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college.  Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, cyber security, and military law.  Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.

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For more information about The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, please visit


Category: Press Releases, Academics