LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas students who have been actively involved in undergraduate research during their university careers are competing for Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, regarded as the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics.
The students' applications are coordinated by the Office of Fellowships & Scholarships in the nationally recognized University Honors Program.
- Marilyn Barragan, a junior from Olathe majoring in molecular, cellular & developmental biology
- Kathryn Brewer, a junior from Overland Park majoring in biochemistry
- Eilish Gibson, a junior from Perry majoring in physics and classical antiquities
- Emmaline Lorenzo, a junior from Leawood majoring in chemistry
Sixty KU students have received Goldwater scholarships since they first were awarded in 1989. 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.
The Goldwater Foundation trustees will announce the 2017 winners in late March. The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up $7,500 annually. The trustees intend to award up to 300 Goldwater scholarships. The number of scholarships to be awarded per state will depend on the number and qualifications of the nominees from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career and faculty recommendations.
All the nominees are members of the University Honors Program. Brief descriptions of their research experience and career plans follow.
Marilyn Barragan of Olathe, daughter of Mayte and Irineo Barragan, graduated from Olathe Northwest High School. Barragan is majoring in molecular, cellular & developmental biology. Her current research at KU is in the lab of Associate Professor Justin Blumenstiel, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; she previously worked in the lab of Engineering Professor Michael Detamore, now at the University of Oklahoma. In summer 2016 she completed an Amgen Scholars program internship at Stanford University. She has also worked closely with Professor James Orr, Department of Molecular Biosciences, through the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development. Barragan plans to pursue a doctorate in stem cell and regenerative medicine and a career focusing on biomedical research.
Kathryn Brewer of Overland Park, daughter of Jeffrey and Laura Brewer, graduated from Blue Valley West High School. Brewer was selected last year for the Beckman Scholars Program and works in the lab of Professor Audrey Lamb, Department of Molecular Biosciences. She won a departmental award for excellence in organic chemistry and a departmental undergraduate research award. Her work involves using several synthetic organic chemistry techniques to determine the structure of a protein found in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, infections of which are multidrug-resistant. Brewer is planning a career in medicinal chemistry research.
Eilish Gibson of Perry, daughter of John and Kimberly Gibson, graduated from Bishop Seabury Academy. Gibson is double-majoring in physics and classical antiquities. Gibson has been involved in physics research with professors Phil Baringer and Alice Bean, Department of Physics & Astronomy, since she was in junior high school. Her current research is related to the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. Gibson has been able to travel to CERN and contributed to internal publications there; she plans to pursue a career in particle physics research.
Emmaline Lorenzo of Leawood, daughter of Michael and Marilyn Lorenzo, graduated from Blue Valley North High School. Lorenzo is majoring in chemistry and minoring in mathematics and philosophy. At KU she works in the lab of Associate Professor Christopher Elles, Department of Chemistusing ultrafast spectroscopy to understand photochemical reactions. Last summer she was accepted for a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lorenzo plans to earn a doctorate in chemistry and pursue a career as a research professor in spectroscopic physical chemistry research.