News: Featured Stories

April 23, 2015

Four named Goldwater Scholars

  • Amherst
A new UMass Amherst record for top achievement.

Four University of Massachusetts Amherst students have received prestigious awards from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, which supports students in science, mathematics, engineering, and computer disciplines. The students were among the 260 sophomores and juniors from across the country to receive the awards, selected from more than 1,200 nominees. Colleges and universities can nominate up to four students, and it is the first time all four UMass Amherst nominees have won. MIT was the only other Massachusetts institution to have four nominees selected.

Aaron P. Dunbrack, pictured in center,  is a sophomore from Framingham. He is majoring in astronomy, mathematics, physics, and philosophy and plans to earn a PhD in theoretical physics and applied mathematics. This summer he will be working on a research project on campus in the area of matter/antimatter asymmetry.

Yekaterina Kori, not pictured, is a junior from Northborough and is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. She also plans to pursue her PhD and do research in molecular and cell biology or molecular pharmacology. She is finishing a co-op semester with Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Cheshire, Connecticut.

Samantha R. Giffen, on left, also a junior, is from Millstone Township, New Jersey. She is majoring in public health and microbiology and plans to earn a PhD and do research in infectious diseases and bacterial pathogenesis. This summer she will be traveling to South Africa where she has an internship conducting research on a water purification system.

Katharine V. Greco, on right, also a junior, is from Saugerties, New York. She is majoring in chemical engineering and plans to earn a PhD in that field developing renewable energy technologies. This summer she will participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at MIT. The REU focuses on materials science and she hopes to work on a project involving nanotechnology and its applications in renewable energy.

Susan K. Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences, who directs the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, called the four Goldwater awards a team effort and the culmination of a long-established goal for the students and faculty mentors involved.

“This puts us in truly elite standing among colleges in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines,” said Whitbourne. “It is a marvelous achievement for the students and for the university.”