Thursday, April 9, 2009
Biological Sciences Undergraduate Receives Goldwater Scholarship
Timothy Helbig, a junior Biological Sciences major from Thorofare, N.J., was recently awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. He is one of 278 sophomores and juniors nationwide to be selected.
Helbig, the son of Bill and Theresa McGinnis, and John and Maureen Helbig, has participated in research throughout his undergraduate career. He took part in the Summer Research Institute (SRI) after his freshmen year, where he isolated and studied single-chain variable fragments (scFv) used in biosensors. After his SRI experience, he continued a more detailed analysis of the same project within the Berget Laboratory throughout his sophomore year. Over the course of his studies, Helbig became interested in plant biology; therefore, he attended a National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center last summer. While at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, he worked on a project involving plant sphingolipids. This year, his interest in plants has continued as he works in a laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh on thermal tolerance in plants.
In addition to research, Helbig is an active member in the Biological Sciences Student Advisory Council (BioSAC) and wrote this year’s murder mystery play entitled “Phantom of the Operon” for the group. He also serves as a tutor for the Urban League of Pittsburgh Charter Schools.
After graduation, Helbig plans on attending graduate school to study plant genetics and ultimately become a teaching professor.
Goldwater scholars receive up to a maximum of $7, 500 a year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The United States Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor former Senator Barry Goldwater. The program’s purpose is to foster and encourage exceptional students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. For more information, visit www.act.org/goldwater/.