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April 5: Four Carnegie Mellon Science Students Earn Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships


Lauren Ward

Amy Pavlak

Four Carnegie Mellon Science Students
Earn Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships

PITTSBURGH—Four students in Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon College of Science (MCS) have received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships to encourage their pursuit of careers in the natural sciences. Gregory A. Newby, Samantha N. Spath, Jonathan M. Stahlman and Lauren M. Thorpe are four of 317 sophomores and juniors nationwide chosen from more than 1,000 nominations to receive scholarships this year. Colleges and universities can submit up to four nominations annually for these awards, and for the first time all of Carnegie Mellon's nominees were selected. Carnegie Mellon was one of seven institutions to receive four scholarships.     

Goldwater ScholarsThe Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering, and to foster excellence in those fields.     

"I am delighted that all four of our nominees received this prestigious honor. This is a great testament to our ability to cultivate student scientists," said Eric Grotzinger, associate dean for undergraduate affairs at MCS and teaching professor in biology. "These undergraduates have been involved in intensive research programs and interdisciplinary coursework from the beginning of their Carnegie Mellon careers."

"The Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications and have met rigorous selection criteria, including a high GPA in their fields," said Paul Fowler, Carnegie Mellon's associate dean of Student Affairs. "Greg, Samantha, Jonathan and Lauren exemplify a remarkable level of talent and commitment to excellence."    

A sophomore from Penn Hills, Pa., Newby is majoring in biological sciences. He is conducting research on viruses that infect bacteria — work that could ultimately assist in developing antibacterial drugs. After completing his bachelor's degree, Newby plans to pursue an advanced degree in microbiology, and ultimately conduct research in cell biology and drug development aimed at creating methods to prevent and cure viral disease.     

Spath, a junior biological sciences major from Sterling Heights, Mich., conducts genetic research on how sea urchin embryos form skeletons. Her career goal is to earn a Ph.D. in cell biology so she can conduct research on human disease and teach at a university. Spath is a 2006 Beckman Scholar.    

Stahlman, a junior from Clarion, Pa., is majoring in physics. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and research alternative energy sources at either a national laboratory or within private industry. This summer, he hopes to pursue research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Established by Stanford University, SLAC is one of the world's leading research laboratories devoted to high-energy physics.    

Thorpe, a junior Science and Humanities Scholar from State College, Pa., is majoring in biological sciences. Last summer, she conducted research on the hepatitis C virus at the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France, as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Scholar. This year, Thorpe is researching genetic pathways common to cell development and colon cancer. After completing her bachelor's degree, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in virology and conduct research in an academic institution or a scientific corporation.    

Newby, Spath and Stahlman were also supported by the HHMI-sponsored Summer Research Institute at Carnegie Mellon.    

Goldwater Scholars receive one- and two-year scholarships that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board — up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. The scholarships are also a stepping-stone for future support for their research careers, according to the foundation. Past Goldwater Scholars have garnered prestigious post-graduate fellowships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, Marshall Award and numerous other distinguished honors.    

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by the United States Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, and to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics. For more information, visit