Connor McKenney and Evan Brooks, Samuel Fedeler, and Richard Marshburn—undergraduates from North Carolina State University—were recently selected as a Goldwater Scholar and as Goldwater Honorable Mentions, respectively.
The prestigious one- and two-year Goldwater Scholarship is distributed by The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which was established by Congress in 1986; it includes up to $7,500 annually in eligible education expenses for college sophomores and juniors currently studying the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering who have potential to conduct research and plan to pursue research careers in those same fields.
This is the first time since 2012 that all four of the students NC State is allowed to nominate were recognized at the national level by the Foundation. Additionally, McKenney is NC State’s 50th recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. Selections were based on academic merit and made from an applicant pool of 1,286 students with U.S. citizenship or permanent residency; 240 students received scholarships and 307 were highlighted with an honorable mention.
NC State students applied for campus nomination through the Fellowship Advising Office and were selected by the Goldwater Scholarship campus selection committee:
• Larry Blanton, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
• Lisa Bullard, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
• Kenan Gundogdu, Department of Physics
• Jim Knopp, Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry
• Sandy Paur, Department of Mathematics
“Our office is so pleased for all of these hard-working, curious, and intelligent students,” said Tiffany Kershner, adjunct teaching assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Fellowship Advising Office. “The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the premier undergraduate awards of its type, and this recognition can help propel dedicated young minds to new heights.”
McKenney, 21, is from Raleigh and is part of the University Scholars Program. He is a junior pursuing a major in genetics and minors in statistics and biotechnology. McKenney intends to obtain a PhD in genomics and conduct research in cancer genomics as a principle investigator of a cancer research organization. He is currently a research assistant with assistant professor of biological sciences David Aylor and doctoral student Sam Widmayer; his additional faculty/research mentors include associate professor and director of the NC State program in genetics Betty Gardner and professor of biological sciences Stephanie Curtis.
In addition to being one of NC State’s Goldwater nominees last year, McKenney was one of six students from NC State to participate in the 2016 DAAD RISE summer research internship in Germany, and is also a 2016 recipient of the Fellowship Advising Office Super-curricular SEED Grant. McKenney’s Goldwater Scholarship will include the 2017-18 academic year.
Brooks, 20, is from Warrenton and came to NC State as a Park Scholar. He is a junior majoring in biological sciences, with minors in genetics and Spanish; he is also a member of the University Scholars Program. Brooks plans to obtain a PhD in developmental and regenerative biology and conduct research on the molecular mechanisms of organ morphogenesis and regeneration. His faculty/research mentors include teaching associate professor of biological sciences Dr. Miriam Ferzli, associate professor of developmental biology Dr. Nanette Nascone-Yoder, and Dr. Pamela Yelick, professor of oral pathology at Tufts University.
Fedeler, 20, of Lynchburg, Virginia is a junior double-majoring in physics and computer science. He is a Caldwell Fellow and a member of the University Honors Program. Fedeler intends to pursue a PhD in aerospace engineering or applied physics and conduct research in spaceflight or astronomical instrumentation development. His faculty/research mentors include professor and interim head of physics Dr. Paul Huffman; Drs. Jenna Samra and Peter Cheimets, Project Managers/AIR-Spec Lead Engineers at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and professor of physics Dr. Keith Weninger.
Richard “Drew” Marshburn
Marshburn, 20, is from Cedar Point and is a sophomore pursuing a major in computer science and a minor in music. He is a member of the University Scholars Program and plans to pursue a PhD in chemistry and develop computational chemistry software. Marshburn’s faculty/research mentors include associate professors of chemistry Dr. Elena Jakubikova and Dr. Reza Ghiladi, and postdoctoral research scholar in chemistry Dr. Daniel Ashley.
The Fellowship Advising Office (FAO) helps NC State’s undergraduate students, graduate students, and alums learn of and apply for nationally competitive and prestigious awards. These awards fund a wide range of opportunities, and many are connected to undergraduate and graduate degree programs or internships, overseas opportunities, and independent projects.