*This media release was updated April 13, 2017 to include more information about the students' research projects.
University of Richmond juniors Grace Conway, Arjun Jaini and Andrew Levorse have received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the country’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, science and engineering.
Goldwater scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of nearly 1,300 students who were nominated by the faculties of about 500 colleges and universities nationwide. This year, 240 scholarships were awarded.
The University of Richmond has had 24 Goldwater scholarship winners and six honorable mentions since 1990.
“University of Richmond’s practice of support for undergraduate student research and faculty mentorship is what has allowed us to achieve this extraordinary track record,” said chemistry professor and awardee mentor Carol Parish.
University of Richmond 2017 scholarship winner include:
Grace Conway is a double major in chemistry and mathematics from Arlington Heights, Ill. Her research with chemistry professor Michael Leopold focuses on developing a uric acid biosensor that could allow for the early detection of pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia risk.
“One of my project goals is to make the sensor small enough to fit in a catheter to provide real-time measurement,” Conway explained.
She will pursue an M.D./Ph.D in biomedical sciences and hopes to work at an academic hospital doing research focused on interacting with patients.
“Receiving this scholarship shows that members of the scientific community find my work valuable,” Conway said.
Arjun Jaini is a chemistry major from West Chester, Pa. Under the mentorship of faculty members Carol Parish and Michael Leopold, Jaini’s research project is to build and test a new sensor that will detect currently undetectable explosives. He plans to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry and work on problems pertaining to clean energy, food or water.
“I want the chemistry that I work on to make the world a better place,” Jaini said. “The faculty I work with are all phenomenal advisors that are extremely dedicated to the success of students here at Richmond.”
“Being part of the scholar network is an extremely exciting opportunity,” he added.
Andrew Levorse is a biology major from Cream Ridge, N.J. He is minoring in chemistry. His research project under the guidance of biology professor Kristine Grayson focuses on the dynamics of a disease that has killed many frogs around the world.
“Because frogs are an indicator of environmental stress, and are an important part of the ecosystem, anything we can learn about threats to them is important,” Levorse said.
Levorse plans to pursue a D.V.M./Ph.D. in wildlife health and epidemiology. He wants to conduct research integrating individual animal health and physiology with disease dynamics to benefit the field of wildlife medicine.
“I feel as though many people do not understand the important role that research can play in the advancement of veterinary medicine, and receiving this scholarship shows that regardless of your specific passions, integrating various disciplines such as wildlife physiology and epidemiology is not an impossible task,” Levorse said.
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Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986 to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics. Honoring the late Arizona senator, the scholarships encourage American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.
More information can be found on the Goldwater website.