Carnegie Mellon University
April 13, 2020

Junior Cassie Bishop Selected as Goldwater Scholar

By Emily Payne

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS

Cassie Bishop, a junior biological sciences major, has been named a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The prestigious award supports students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering and math.

Bishop is an ardent researcher with a keen interest in molecular biology.

“I am fascinated by the molecular mechanisms of cellular pathways that allow cells to function normally in their environment, as well as how those pathways can and do go awry in people, leading to diseases such as cancer,” said Bishop.

Last summer, she explored this interest by conducting research on the mechanisms underlying cancer treatment resistance with Professor Tanya Paull as part of the Livestrong Cancer Institute’s Summer Internship Program at the University of Texas, Austin.

This was an invaluable experience for Bishop who plans to pursue a career in cancer research. Specifically, she wants to understand the carcinogenic drivers that cause that first cell to be cancerous and research immunotherapeutic approaches that could identify and eradicate these cancerous cells.

Currently, Bishop investigates fruit fly stress response at the physiological and molecular level with Biological Sciences Associate Professor Brooke McCartney. 

Outside of her research, Bishop keeps herself busy. She is a supplemental instruction(SI)/EXCEL leader and supervisor. In this position, she mentors her peers in the introduction to modern chemistry course and supervises the training of new SI leaders. She is also co-president of the Mellon College of Science Student Advisory Council and a member of the Science Olympiad Club at CMU, which hosts an annual invitational competition for high school students.

Bishop was excited to be selected for this honor because of the scholarship’s mission to empower and support undergraduates who want to become leading researchers in STEM.

She says the scholarship process affirmed her potential to be successful scientist.

Writing about her research and personal goals helped her develop the communication skills that she needs as a budding scientist to advocate for herself and her work.

“I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped me through the application process, including Dr. McCartney, Dr. John Woolford, Dr. Allison and the Goldwater committee,” said Bishop. “It has given me further confidence in dedicating my career to biomedical research.”

Bishop is one of 396 students selected from an applicant pool of over 5,000 sophomores and juniors nationwide. She is also one of four Carnegie Mellon University recipients.

Stephanie Wallach, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education, said that CMU can nominate four students annually for the award. Brittany Allison, assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Research and National Scholarships, oversees the university’s Goldwater nomination process, which includes a committee of faculty members who discuss the nominations, and also includes working closely with each nominee before the final submission.

“Dr. Allison did a double take when she saw that all four of nominees were selected,” Wallach said. “This is an award that recognizes our CMU strengths in the fields of engineering, natural sciences and mathematics and the exceptional ability of our faculty to involve our immensely talented and highly motivated students in undergraduate research.”