UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND —  Two University of Richmond juniors have received Goldwater scholarships, the preeminent undergraduate award in science and math.

This year, approximately 400 Goldwater scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of more than 1,300 students nominated by about 450 colleges and universities nationwide.

The recipients include:

Claire Fuller inlineClaire Fuller of Falls Church, Virginia, is majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. Fuller is working on research that will help make pharmaceuticals more cost-effective and widely available. The research also has implications in the field of pesticides and herbicides. Her research advisor is chemistry professor Wade Downey.

“This scholarship is a testament to the time and effort my mentors and professors have invested in me along the way, and I am very grateful for their guidance throughout the process,” said Fuller, who intends to pursue a Ph.D. in computational or theoretical chemistry to fuse her interests in chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.

"Claire is one of the most astoundingly brilliant students I have taught in my fourteen years at the University of Richmond,” said Downey. “She is hungry for involvement in all phases of her research project — from conception to implementation to troubleshooting to completion.”

Katrina Kuhn headshotKatrina Kuhn of Aurora, Illinois, is majoring in biochemistry & molecular biology and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. She is minoring in integrated science. She is working on a research project to better understand how the bacterium Sodalis glossinidius invades and survives within insect host cells, specifically tsetse flies. Her mentor is biology professor Laura Runyen-Janecky.

"I am extremely honored and pleased to have received this award and to become part of this national community of scholars,” said Kuhn, who plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. and hopes to lead a research lab focused on improving health outcomes.

“Katrina’s combination of an exceptionally keen intellect, genuine passion for science, fearlessness in trying and learning new things, and excellent lab skills has allowed her to already contribute significantly to work on insect-bacterial symbioses in my lab,” said Runyen-Janecky. “Katrina is already a leader in my lab group and will continue to be a leader in the biomedical sciences in the years to come.”

“These students have been recognized among a large, competitive, and talented candidate pool,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “These awards highlight the academic caliber of the students and UR’s commitment to faculty-mentored undergraduate research.”

Including these awards, UR has had 30 Goldwater Scholars since the program’s inception in 1986.

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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. The scholarships encourage American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering.

More about these Goldwater Scholars

  • Claire Fuller is a Richmond Scholar. She studied chemistry at the University of Oxford for the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Katrina Kuhn is fluent in Spanish and speaks some Portuguese. She studied abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain last fall. She is a Robins Science Scholar.

Record of mentorship

Wade Downey was also the mentor of 2008 Goldwater Scholar Miles Johnson, who is now on the chemistry department faculty at UR. Johnson is the mentor for 2019 Goldwater Scholar Adrian Matthews.

Professor of Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Professor of Biology
Microbiology
Genetics
Bacterial Symbioses