Anne Wallen
Office of Fellowships

Overland Park junior Ryan Limbocker wins Goldwater Scholarship

Tue, 03/25/2014

LAWRENCE — Ryan Limbocker, University of Kansas junior from Overland Park, has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The awards are the nation’s premier undergraduate award to honor academically gifted students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Three additional KU juniors were recognized with an Honorable Mention.

Limbocker is the 56th KU student to be recognized with a Goldwater scholarship. All four students are members of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program.

Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Over 1,100 students were nominated this year, and 283 scholarships were awarded. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Limbocker is a junior majoring in chemistry. The son of Craig and Kathi Limbocker, he graduated from Blue Valley North High School. He has been active in Professor Michael Johnson’s research group in the Department of Chemistry.

“I am honored to receive this award, which will undoubtedly accelerate my research aspirations,” Limbocker said. “KU is a paramount research university that truly facilitates active undergraduate research, most evident for me through my excellent mentors, especially my principal investigator, Dr. Michael Johnson, my honors adviser, Dr. Mikhail Barybin, and my extraordinary teacher Dr. Timothy Jackson.”

He plans to pursue a doctorate in analytical chemistry and research the fundamental origins of neurodegeneration, focusing on post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Schools may nominate a maximum of four students for Goldwater scholarships. In addition to awarding scholarships, the Goldwater trustees also recognize outstanding students who are highly qualified in their field with Honorable Mentions.

“For all four of our nominees to be recognized by the Goldwater Foundation is an outstanding achievement and a testament to their hard work and dedication,” said Jonathan Earle, professor of history and director of the University Honors Program. “Each student is a great example of the importance of faculty mentorship and undergraduate research as part of the KU experience.”

KU’s three additional nominees to receive Honorable Mention recognition:

  • Ashley Farris, a junior from Wichita majoring in biochemistry
  • Alex Kong, a junior from Lawrence majoring in chemistry
  • Kayla Sale, a junior from Olathe majoring in biology and mathematics

Farris is a junior biochemistry major from Wichita. The daughter of Alyson and Lee Farris, she graduated from Wichita Northwest High School. She has been active in Professor Michael Detamore’s Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering lab. She plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering and wants to conduct research on stem cells and tissue engineering mechanics at the university level.

Alex Kong is a junior majoring in pharmacy from Lawrence. The son of Man and Sue Kong, he graduated from Free State High School. He has been active in Professor Jeff Krise’s lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He plans to earn a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry and conduct research in pharmaceutical science, teach at the university level and increase scientific literacy.

Kayla Sale is a junior from Olathe majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as applied mathematics. The daughter of John and Jamea Sale, she is a graduate of Olathe North High School. She has performed research with Professor Joy Ward in ecology and evolutionary biology and Professor Perry Alexander in computer engineering. She plans to pursue a doctorate in theoretical/computational ecology and develop mathematical constructs and computational techniques to model ecosystems as a primary investigator.

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