April 18, 2011
Wooster's David Freund (left), a sophomore, and Haley Brown, a junior, were chosen as 2011 Goldwater Scholars for excellence in undergraduate research.
WOOSTER, Ohio — Two College of Wooster students have been recognized by the Goldwater Foundation for excellence in mathematical and scientific research. Haley Brown, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major from Wilmette, Ill., and David Freund, a sophomore mathematics major from Kirtland, Ohio, each received scholarships that can be applied to undergraduate tuition, housing, and book fees in the coming year.
Freund was chosen for his research in Knot Theory — the study of various properties of mathematical knots, which differ only slightly from the typical conceptualization of a knot. The objective of his research is to explore properties of Klein knots, a new type of knot.
“When I found out I won the award I was thrilled because I know how selective the program is,” said Freund. “Wooster has given me the opportunity to challenge myself mathematically, particularly through the Applied Mathematics and Research Experience during the summer. That’s when I began my preliminary investigation of Knot Theory.”
Pam Pierce, professor of mathematics at Wooster, commended Freund for his natural curiosity about deep mathematical questions. “David is an insightful problem-solver with a real passion for learning,” she said. “I am thrilled that he has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship because he is clearly a talented and deserving student who shows exceptional promise in mathematics.”
Brown was selected for her study of a particular protein in yeast that provides protection against damage from reactive molecules (electrophiles, oxidants, etc.) that cause misfolding of proteins (a proposed cause for many neurodegenerative diseases).
“I am very grateful for the opportunity that Wooster has provided,” said Brown. “I don’t think I would have gained this type of research experience or had such close contact with professors anywhere else but Wooster.”
James West, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Wooster, described Brown as an outstanding student and a truly deserving recipient of the award. “Haley is bright, inquisitive, dedicated, technically skilled, and genuine in her interactions with others,” he said. “I have really enjoyed working with Haley in class and in the laboratory, and I am delighted that she has received this recognition. It is a remarkable accomplishment for a remarkable young scientist."
Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering, based, in large part, on a two-page essay that describes their research. Students are nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities across the nation, and most go on to earn a Ph.D. in their field of study. The one- and two-year scholarships cover costs up $7,500 per year.
Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications, which have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 77 Rhodes Scholarships, 108 Marshall Awards, 98 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships.
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program, which honors the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed more than 6,600 scholarships worth approximately $50 million.
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