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25th Consecutive Year USC Students Earn Goldwater Scholarship

For the twenty-fifth consecutive year, USC students have been named Goldwater Scholars. A total of 51 Goldwater Scholarships have been won by USC students since 1990, with 50 of those Goldwater Scholars members of the South Carolina Honors College.

Juniors Mara Cowen, Kevin Field, and Kayla Gardner have been named 2017 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, and Jacob Baltzegar has been named an Honorable Mention. Nationally, 240 Goldwater Scholars and 307 Honorable Mentions were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,286 mathematics, science, and engineering students, nominated by the faculties of 470 colleges and universities nationwide.

The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded nationally to sophomores and juniors pursuing bachelors' degrees in natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering and who intend to pursue a career in research and/or college-level teaching. The one or two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Each university may only nominate four students for this award.

Cowen is a member of the South Carolina Honors College pursuing a BARSC degree in Developmental Neuroscience. A Carolina Scholar (USC's top in-state merit scholarship), she is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a 2017 Amgen Scholar. At USC, Cowen has worked with Dr. Sofia Lizarraga in the department of Biological Sciences and with Dr. John Richards and Dr. Jane Roberts in the department of Psychology conducting neuroscience research at the cellular, functional, and behavioral levels. Her research has been funded by the SCHC SURF Program, the Magellan Scholar Program, and the Irene and Eric Simon Brain Research Foundation, which has resulted in manuscripts and presentations. On campus, Mara is president of IMPULSE, the undergraduate neuroscience journal, and an active member of The Center for Childhood Neurotherapeutics, the Neuroscience Community Planning Committee, and Scholars United. Mara plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Neuroscience and conduct research on the cellular mechanism of neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically autism spectrum disorder.

Field, is a majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry and is also a member of the South Carolina Honors College. He was recruited to USC as a McNair Scholar (USC's top out-of-state merit scholarship) and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. At USC he has conducted research in the lab of Dr. Minsub Shim in the Center for Colon Cancer Research on aging and the effect of cancer therapies on early aging symptoms. He is active on campus in Phi Delta Epsilon and has served as a Top Scholar peer leader. Kevin plans to earn an M.D. /Ph.D. in Cellular Biology with a goal to conduct clinical and lab-based research on immunology and teach at a medical school.

Gardner is also member of the South Carolina Honors College, with a major in Marine Science and minors in Mathematics, Biology, and Chemistry. A McNair Scholar, she is also a 2016 NOAA Hollings Scholar, a Traci J. Heincelman scholar, and recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Freshman Award. Gardner has worked in Dr. Tammi Richardson's lab since her freshman year, and pursued her own research project on Harmful Algae Blooms through her REU at Mote Marine Laboratory. She has presented that research at the REU poster session, the AGU Ocean Science Meeting, and the International HAB conference in Brazil. Involved in several campus organizations, she is Vice President of SEAS, an OFSP Fellowships Peer Mentor, and active member of the sailing and scuba clubs. Gardner plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography, and conduct research and teach at the university level.

Baltzegar is a Chemical Engineering major with a minor in Chemistry and a member of the South Carolina Honors College. A member Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society, he is also a Palmetto Fellows Scholar and Lieber Scholar. He has conducted research in the lab of Dr. Melissa Moss at USC on molecular engineering of therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, funded through a SCHC SURF Grant. On campus, he serves on the executive board of Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity and a College of Engineering Ambassador as well as mentoring minority high school students and volunteering through Carolina Science Outreach. Jacob's goal is to complete a Ph.D. in Chemistry and conduct research in materials chemistry and biomolecular engineering and teach at the university level.

The University's Goldwater Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Douglas Meade (Mathematics) and Dr. Scott Goode (Chemistry), includes faculty members Dr. Melissa Moss (Chemical and Biomedical Engineering), Dr. Susan Alexander (South Carolina Honors College), Dr. Ralf Gothe (Physics and Astronomy), Dr. Zhengqing Fu (Biological Sciences), and Dr. David Barbeau (Earth and Ocean Sciences). The committee worked closely with all University nominees in preparing their applications. The Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs ( further assisted the Goldwater applicants.

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