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W&M chemistry student awarded Goldwater Scholarship

  • Star student:
    Star student:  Zachary Nimmo '18 has received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, an award reserved for students looking to make a significant impact in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The Goldwater Foundation has announced that William & Mary student Zachary Nimmo ’18 has been named a Goldwater Scholar. Kevin Nelson ’18 and Likhitha Kolla ’18 were also named Honorable Mentions.

The prestigious award, given annually to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. 

The scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served as a longtime military officer and on the armed forces, intelligence, Indian affairs, commerce, science and transportation committees in Congress.

Nimmo, a chemistry major and Monroe Scholar, is one of 240 students nationwide to receive a scholarship from a pool of 1,286 applicants. An additional 307 nominees were named Honorable Mentions. 

Since the spring of his freshman year, Nimmo has conducted research in a biochemistry lab with Douglas Young, assistant professor of chemistry at W&M and Nimmo's advisor, where he studies bioconjugations via unnatural amino acids, which can be developed into targeted cancer therapies. Following graduation, he would like to obtain his M.D. and Ph.D and plans to someday combine cancer research with clinical medicine as a physician-scientist at a university.

"Zack really exemplifies what it is to be a Goldwater scholar," said Young. "He exudes scientific promise, is extremely hardworking, and is incredibly well-rounded. I met Zack before he came to W&M, and even from our brief initial interaction, I could tell that he had tremendous potential and was one of those really unique students. He has been in my lab since his first semester, and really excels as a scientist. He is a co-author on several publications and has already received various other awards, including a prestigious Beckman Fellowship. Zack’s future is incredibly bright, and I look forward to seeing where his passion for science takes him!"

Each year, universities are allowed to nominate up to four students for the award. Since the award’s inception, W&M students have performed consistently well. Last year, three students received scholarships and, in 2015, all four of W&M’s nominees took home the award (an unusual and impressive feat).

Students interested in applying for next year’s Goldwater Scholarship should contact Lisa Grimes, associate director of the Charles Center and director of fellowships and undergraduate research.