Recipients of the 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards granted to undergraduates studying the sciences, have been announced. From a highly competitive field of more than 1,000 applicants, Jessica Popp ’11 was selected as a Scholar among 277 others, and Deirdre Wholly ’11 earned an Honorable Mention.
Fostering and encouraging excellence in science and mathematics, the Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by the U. S. Congress in 1986 to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.
“This is a great honor for Jessica and Deirdre; for our deans and faculty members who mentored them and helped them prepare academically; our staff in the Salisbury Center who nominated them and helped them complete their application materials; and for the Colleges as a whole,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “The hard-won accomplishments of Jessica and Deirdre showcase the possibilities afforded by the robust and rigorous liberal arts education here at the Colleges.”
Distinguishing herself through her academic achievements, research activities and extracurricular involvement, Popp, a biology major, will receive scholarship funds that cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board. These funds will help her to focus on her goals after HWS-pursuing a Ph.D. in marine biology, conducting research in marine mammal science and teaching at the university level.
Wholly, a chemistry major, hopes to use her place on the list of finalists as a stepping stone for a career researching medicine and synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Both Popp and Wholly have completed research with HWS professors. Popp researched lake-effect precipitation over the Great Salt Lake and invasive species on Seneca Lake, working with Associate Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird and Assistant Professor of Biology Meghan Brown, respectively. This summer, she will work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as an Ernest Hollings Fellow in Kodiak, Alaska, studying the life history characteristics of the red king crab.
Wholly spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 conducting research on solid phase peptide synthesis with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller. With Miller and the rest of the student researchers, Wholly presented the results at the American Chemistry Society’s annual conferences. She will continue her research this summer and throughout the year as part of her Honors thesis.
Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 73 Rhodes Scholarships, 105 Marshall Awards, 90 Churchill Scholarships (9 of the 14 awarded in the United States in 2010), and numerous other distinguished fellowships.
“This is yet another wonderful accolade for our students, deservedly shared with all those who helped make it possible,” says Provost and Dean of the Faculty Teresa Amott. “Congratulations to Deirdre and Jessica, and thanks to all those who helped them along the way.”