Anna Parker, a University of Richmond junior from Wilmington, N.C., has won a 2010-11 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the country’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, science and engineering.

Parker, a chemistry major and honorable mention as a sophomore in last year’s Goldwater competition, is one of only 278 undergraduates selected from a field of 1,111 nominated by college and university faculties nationwide.

The one- and two-year scholarships provide up to $7,500 a year toward tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Six Richmond students in the past three years and 15 since 2000 have won Goldwater scholarships.

Parker is conducting research on damaged DNA bases with Richmond chemistry professor Carol Parish, examining the effects of free oxygen radicals on errors in DNA replication. Such errors have been linked to cell death, aging and degenerative diseases. Parker won “best undergraduate poster” for a presentation on the topic at the 2010 Sanibel Symposium, the annual international scientific conference on quantum chemistry, solid-state physics and quantum biology.

A member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon national chemistry honor society, she also is on Richmond’s Model United Nations team. She plans to attend graduate school in chemistry.

Parker is the daughter of Julie Chambers and Steve Parker of Wilmington and a 2007 graduate of John T. Hoggard High School.

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. The foundation has awarded more than 5,800 scholarships worth approximately $56 million.