Ohio University

Three OHIO students named as prestigious 2021 Goldwater Scholars

Published: April 2, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Three Ohio University Honors Tutorial College students have been selected as 2021 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, the second year in a row for the University to have as many recipients and the most this year in the state of Ohio.

Nicole Hess (Biological Sciences), of Powell, Ohio, Emily Marino (Biological Sciences) of Grove City, Ohio, and Emma Rice (Physics) of Marysville, Ohio, were among 409 scholars selected for 2021. The research work of these three students may someday change the world – Hess focuses on hearing, Marino focuses on a bacterial pathogen, and Rice focuses on nuclear structures.

“It is a great honor to once again have three bright and brilliant students selected for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Their research talents have the potential to solve real issues facing humankind. These students and their research mentors are making positive impacts through research facilities not just in Athens, but across the globe.”

Hess is a biological sciences major in the Honors Tutorial College. Hess’s research focuses on a protein complex located at the base of the stereocilia, a microscopic structure in the inner ear, which is believed to help stabilize structures and preserving hearing function. Hess uses a genetic approach to investigate how and why different combinations of mutations affect hearing. Hess’s research mentor is associate professor Soichi Tanda.

“When I found out I was named a Goldwater Scholar, I was extremely excited. I’ve dedicated the last year and a half to this project and it's very rewarding to see my work pay off,” Hess said. “I’m also exceedingly grateful for the support of my mentor, Soichi Tanda, and all the other professors who have supported me throughout this project.”

Hess would also like to thank Christopher Lewis, Monica Burdick, Janet Duerr, Zhihua Hua, Erin Murphy, Tanda, Mark Berryman, Jeff Thuma, Michelle Pate and Mitchell Day for their support. 

Marino is a biological sciences major in the Honors Tutorial College. Marino’s research mentor is associate professor Ronan Carroll and is studying Staphylococcus aureus, or the bacterial pathogen that causes staph infections and looking at the virulence, or the severity of a disease, on different strains by infecting culture cells. Marino’s role includes maintaining the human cell culture lines.

“I was so happy [to find out about the selection]. I love being able to do as much research as I have as an undergrad, and it feels great to get recognition for all the work that I’ve done,” Marino said. “I felt like I made a lot of people that have worked to train me as a scientist extremely proud as well, which is always a good feeling.”

Marino would like to recognize Lewis, Burdick, Carroll, Jennifer Hines, Rebecca Keogh, Roxanne Malé-Brune, Tanda, Rachel Zapf, as well as all members of the Carroll lab for their help and support. 

Rice is a physics major in the Honors Tutorial College. Rice’s research mentors include Heather Crawford and Augusto Macchiavelli and conducts research as a member of the Low Energy Nuclear Structure group at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Rice studies the nuclear structure of 66Fe (iron-66) and neighboring nuclei using gamma-ray spectroscopy to study the structure of the exotic nuclei in order to learn more about fundamental interactions of matter.

“I was surprised and giddy upon finding out. I am very honored and grateful for the recognition, it has reaffirmed my decision to pursue a research career in nuclear physics,” Rice said.

Rice would like to thank Lewis, David Drabold, Carl Brune, Burdick, Heather Crawford, Augusto Macchiavelli, Malé-Brune, Zach Meisel and Lewis.

“Being named a Goldwater Scholar in any year is an amazing accomplishment, but to earn this recognition while the world struggles through a global pandemic is next level. I’m in awe of Emma, Emily, and Nicole and congratulate them on their achievements,” said Monica Burdick, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and chair of OHIO’s Goldwater Committee.

Students interested in learning more about the Goldwater Scholarship are encouraged to visit goldwater.scholarsapply.org and to contact either Burdick or Lewis, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.

OHIO had three Goldwater Scholarship recipients in 2020, two recipients in 2019, and has had 20 OHIO students receive the Goldwater Scholarship with 9 honorable mentions since 2006. Until last year, OHIO did not have three recipients in the same year since 2008.