Brittany Lewis '11, and Daniel Sinden '11, of the College of William and Mary have joined 276 other sophomores and juniors from around the country in being named Goldwater Scholars. Sam Harvey also received honorable mention.
Students were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities around the country, and are recognized on the basis of their academic achievements as well as their commitment and potential to make contributions to or advance their field of study. Sinden and Lewis were selected this year from a field of 1,111 highly qualified applicants concentrating in mathematics, science and engineering.
"Since 1989, there have been 51 Goldwater scholars selected from the College of William and Mary," noted Lisa Grimes, director of fellowships and undergraduate research and associate director of the Roy R. Charles Center. "Goldwater is the premier undergraduate scholarship in its field. Goldwater Scholars tend to excel in other national scholarship competitions and go on to the best graduate programs in the country."
Sinden is double-majoring in neuroscience and philosophy. He proposes to study how different kinds of stem cells interact with each other, and what signals influence that interaction, a subject inspired by lab research he is working on currently under Matthew Wawersik, assistant professor of biology.
"It was actually Dr. Wawersik who mentioned that I should think about this Goldwater thing," Sinden remarked. "Without him, I probably would not have gotten it. He helped me so much with the application."
Sinden added that the complexity of the application process was itself a great educational experience: "Applying actually helped me to understand my research a lot better because I had to work so hard to put it into this proposal. You only have two pages to show what you plan on doing, so you really need to understand everything in order to get across exactly what you are trying to say."
Sinden will be researching at the College this summer, and intends to apply to medical school and M.D./Ph.D. programs upon graduation.
Lewis is also majoring in neuroscience at the College. She will be studying how voltage gated calcium channels affect how the nervous system develops, using African clawed frogs and double-stranded RNA molecules.
"I view the Goldwater Scholarship as a body that gives students the opportunity to pursue careers in research in science and mathematics, and encourages schools to provide research experience for the undergraduate students," Lewis said. "The Goldwater Scholarship gives me the opportunity to continue my research at William and Mary with a thesis project that I will compete my senior year. Research experience like that afforded by the Goldwater Scholarship has convinced me that I want to continue my career as a scientist after graduation."
Lewis hopes to begin an M.D./Ph.D program following graduation.
The scholarship award covers up eligible expenses including tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 annually. Junior scholars will be eligible to receive scholarship support for two years, and seniors will receive scholarship support for one year.
"We are very proud to see Daniel, Brittany and Sam recognized for their outstanding achievement,” noted Taylor Reveley, president of the College of William and Mary. "This award makes clear once again how committed we are to serious undergraduate research at William & Mary."
The Goldwater Scholarship was created in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater and to encourage students to study and pursue careers in mathematics, the sciences or engineering. In its 24-year history, the foundation has awarded 6,079 scholarships worth approximately $58 million.