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Two Ohio University students named Goldwater Scholars

April 6, 2005

Two Ohio University students have won this year's Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which rewards outstanding research within the fields of science, engineering and math.

McKenzie Koss photo by Rick FaticaJess Wilhelm and McKenzie Koss, both sophomores in the Honors Tutorial College, will receive a $7,500 award each year for two years. The two are part of an elite group of 320 Goldwater Scholars selected from 1,091 students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

The very term "Goldwater Scholar" denotes an honor recognized by scientists nationally, said Karen Eichstadt, associate professor of chemistry and the Ohio University Goldwater Scholarship faculty representative.

"Our Goldwater Scholars are maintaining high standards in rigorous science majors and also working on research projects with a faculty mentor," Eichstadt said. "They are being encouraged to explore new areas and learn at every step."

The Goldwater application process poses an additional challenge, she added.

"In the preparation of the portfolio for competition, the students were asked to reflect on their work and its importance to the scientific community and to their own growth," Eichstadt said. "Preparation of the portfolio itself requires several weeks of focused writing."

Koss, a biological sciences and biochemistry double major from Westlake, Ohio, hopes to pursue a career combining research with a clinical practice in pediatric oncology. She has been extensively involved in research since high school; she participated in research internships the past two summers at the NASA Glenn Research Center and at University Hospitals' Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland.

Koss is now beginning work with Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Daewoo Lee researching Alzheimer's disease. Outside the classroom, Koss is involved with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Lambda Delta.

Wilhelm, an astrophysics major from Canfield, Ohio, also is pursuing an Asian studies certificate with minors in French and math. He studies the kinematics of galaxies, asteroids and super-massive black holes. This summer, he will conduct research at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, and next year, he will study in Beijing, China.

Jess Wilhelm photo by Rick FaticaWilhelm is active in Amnesty International, the Society of Physics Students and the College Democrats on campus. With Wilhelm's accomplishment, the Honors Tutorial College physics and astronomy program has had Goldwater Scholars for four consecutive years.

Since 1994, 12 Ohio University students have been named Goldwater Scholars.

"It is always interesting to look at the list of national winners and see that our students are on par with the best in the country," Eichstadt said. "For example Yale University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan were among the institutions awarded two Goldwater Scholars this year. Although we as professors realize we have some outstanding young students in our classrooms, the recognition at a national level confirms our belief that we can provide a rich nurturing environment for student growth."

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