May 3, 2010
WOOSTER, Ohio - Brad Palanski, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major at The College of Wooster, has been chosen to receive a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for his outstanding achievements in coursework and research experiences. The prestigious national award is presented annually to sophomores and juniors in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. The scholarship, which can be applied to tuition, books, and room and board, is highly competitive with
fewer than 30 percent of the more than 1,000 applicants selected each year.
"Brad is a truly exceptional student and very deserving of this recognition," said Mark Snider, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry & molecular biology as well as advisor to Palanski. "He is one of the most dedicated students I have observed. He is intellectually curious, identifies a manageable set of project goals, demonstrates effective time management in completing tasks, asks probing questions, and is articulate in both oral and written communication. He is one of those rare students who shows the ability for creative, independent, and original thought. He is, in many ways, already functioning as a graduate student."
One of the primary considerations in the selection process is the development of a research proposal, and Palanski chose to describe his Independent Study project (Wooster's nationally acclaimed undergraduate research experience), which examined the impact of discarded anti-depressants on the environment.
"Brad's research proposal was very well developed and clearly articulated," said Snider. "His work in the lab is highly independent. He carefully studies the literature to figure out a concept or learn a theory behind a technique before asking questions; he is invigorated to find workable solutions to experiments that present difficulties; and his work is done extremely carefully and thoughtfully. He is fully cognizant that getting the science right is more important than appearing right, and he readily uses feedback to assess his performance. These attributes clearly demonstrate to me that Brad has the personal characteristics, self-motivation, and potential to become an
exceptionally successful scientist."
Palanski, who has participated in Wooster's Sophomore Research experience and its Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, said he is honored to receive the award, and hopes it will serve as a steppingstone for graduate school, where he plans to pursue a Ph.D. and teach at the college level after graduating from Wooster.
As for his experience at Wooster, he is grateful for the opportunities he has received. "Wooster has given me a chance to do research and think critically," said Palanski, who serves as a tutor for organic and general chemistry and the writing center, and is a member of the Chemistry Club and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club as well as the varsity tennis team. "It is unusual to be able to work independently on research with guidance from faculty members the way you can at Wooster."
Goldwater Scholars are nominated by faculty members at colleges and universities nationwide. Those selected receive up to $7,500. Award winners have impressive academic qualifications, and most go on to obtain a Ph.D. in their chosen field of study. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program, which honors the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater, has awarded more than 6,000 scholarships worth approximately $58 million.
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