Three Institute of Technology students named Goldwater Scholars

Four University undergraduates, including three from the Institute of Technology, have been named 2006 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors in mathematics, science, and engineering who intended to pursue graduate study and research-oriented careers. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of graduate study. This year 323 Goldwater Scholars were selected from a field of 1,081 nominees from colleges and universities nationwide.

The college's 2006 Goldwater Scholars have participated in their college's honors program and are conducting research under faculty direction.

Elizabeth Barnes, a physics student, intends to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear and particle physics and then pursue a career as a professor at a major research university. She is interested in many applications of particle and nuclear physics, including the development of alternative forms of energy. She has been involved in various aspects of the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) project, holding internships at the Fermi Laboratory in Illinois under the direction of Dr. Regina Rameika and at the Soudan Mine site under the direction of physics professor Marvin Marshak. She has also conducted research under the directions of physics professors Priscilla Cushman and Keith Ruddick, and she volunteers as a tutor in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Barnes is from White Bear Lake, Minn., and is a graduate of Mahtomedi High School.

Akash Kumar, a chemical engineering and biochemistry major, plans to earn an M.D./Ph.D. in molecular biology. He would like to conduct research and teach at a research-oriented medical school. As a high school student, Kumar completed two years of full-time course work at the University through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program. He has conducted cancer research at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., under the direction of Professor Jim Maher, and he is co-author of a recently published article based on this research. He also has worked on research projects directed by Assistant Professor Yiannis Kaznessis, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and Professor Vivek Kapur, Department of Microbiology. Throughout his time at the University, he has studied and performed Indian dance. Kumar lives in Plymouth, Minn., and graduated from Wayzata High School.

Eman Haidari is pursuing majors in chemistry and in genetics, cell biology and development (College of Biological Sciences) with the goal of becoming a medical school professor. She hopes to become a medical school professor and conduct research on cell transporters. She has been conducting research on the development of targeted drug delivery systems, working in the lab of Assistant Professor Efie Kokkoli, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. While still in high school, Haidari earned many college credits by participating in the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program and the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program. She serves on the Twin Cities Student Union Board of Governors, is active in the Persian Student Organization and the Society of Women Engineers, and also plays basketball, badminton, and soccer. Haidari is from Eden Prairie, Minn., and is a graduate of Eden Prairie High School.

The fourth Goldwater Scholar is Kimberly VanderWaal, a student in the College of Biological Sciences who is majoring in ecology, evolution and behavior. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology and would like to teach at the University level and conduct research in mammalian social behavior. She has been engaged in research for the University's Lion Research Center under the direction of Professor Craig Packer, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. For her summa thesis, VanderWaal is conducting solo research on factors that lead to lion pride division. She has been a member of the University of Minnesota Marching Band since her freshman year and currently is the band's trombone section leader. She is from Bloomington, Minn., and graduated from Jefferson High School.

This year marks the second consecutive year that four University of Minnesota–Twin Cities students have won Goldwater Scholarships. Since the scholarship program began in the late 1980s, 37 University students have been named Goldwater Scholars. Institutions are permitted to nominate four candidates per year. Physics professor Robert Pepin, director of the Institute of Technology Honors Program, is the campus representative for the Goldwater Scholarships and convenes a committee from diverse scientific disciplines to select the University's nominees.