Two Georgia Southern University Students Honored by Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program
Two Georgia Southern University students have been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program, whose mission is to support the next generation of researchers in science, engineering, technology and math.
Georgia Southern senior Katherine Mincey of Portal, Ga., has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar and will receive up to $7,500 in scholarships. Junior chemistry major Stephen Crooke of Claxton, Ga., received an honorable mention from the program. Both students are enrolled in the University Honors Program and in the University’s Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology.
“The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program is one of the most prestigious research awards an undergraduate can receive,” said University Honors Program Director Steven Engel, Ph.D. “We are very proud of both Katherine and Stephen. This award shows that both students have demonstrated great potential and stand to make valuable contributions to scientific research in their careers.”
Mincey, who is majoring in biology, is researching whether plants can be used to draw potentially harmful metals from the soil without having a negative effect on the ecosystem.
“My current research is to determine the effects of the nickel levels in certain plants on caterpillars’ growth and reproduction. The purpose of this research is to determine if using these plants as a method to clean up heavy metal pollution is an effective yet safe technique. The caterpillars are the first step in the food chain and we want to make sure that the nickel will not be passed to other species in the environment,” Mincey said.
Crooke’s research is focusing on a more efficient and cost effective way of creating certain chemical compounds in synthetic sponges that have the same properties as sea sponges. His research will be used in the fight against cancer.
“The natural products that have been isolated have displayed a promising amount of activity in biological testing, and my research lab will eventually be sending our synthetic “natural” products to the National Cancer Institute for testing as anti-cancer treatments,” Crooke explains.
Crooke says Georgia Southern’s strong support of research by undergraduates has been key to his success. “I feel that my close relationships with my advisers, Dr. Michele McGibony and Dr. Christine Whitlock, helped in progressing my research through the years. I feel that this close relationship with my professors here at Georgia Southern is a major advantage that I had when applying for the Goldwater Scholarship which students at larger universities might not have enjoyed.”
Mincey agrees, “All of the professors here genuinely care about how the students perform and encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities that arise. Their hard work and dedication is seen inside and outside of the classroom. “For me, the guidance and support of Dr. Risa Cohen and my mentor Dr. William Irby, as well as many other professors, have been influential in my accomplishments and were important in my application for the Goldwater scholarship.”
Bret Danilowicz, Dean of the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology said, “Katherine and Stephen’s awards also reflect the quality of the instruction and mentoring they have received from their supervisors and other faculty in the College. Given that these awards are the most prestigious honor an undergraduate student majoring in science, technology, engineering or math can receive, we cannot help but be proud and inspired by their achievements.”