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May 19, 2014

Four Purdue students win national Goldwater scholarships

Four Purdue undergraduate students have received scholarships through the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program -- the most since 1999.

The winners are Emily Erickson, Haefa Mansour, Sean McDowell and Nicholas Pogranichniy.

The Goldwater program provides up to $7,500 toward tuition, fees, room and board. The U.S. Congress established it in 1986 to promote high achievement in science, mathematics and engineering by awarding scholarships to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in those fields.

Two of the four Goldwater recipients are members of Purdue's Honors College. One is a member of the University Honors Program, which was the college's precursor.

"Being named a winner in this prestigious national competition is indeed an honor, and one that will help foster the students' research," says Provost Tim Sands.

Erickson, a junior from Clarks Hill, Ind., is majoring in biochemistry. She plans to pursue a PhD and an MD in order to research as well as treat breast cancer.

"I believe that engagement with patients suffering from, fighting or recovering from breast cancer will prove helpful to effective research discovery, " says Erickson, who last year received a scholarship from the national Astronaut Foundation, which supports students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional academic performance in science or engineering.   

Mansour, a junior from Mentor, Ohio, is majoring in chemical engineering. She intends to focus her research on new protein-based materials and advancing knowledge in the field of protein engineering.

McDowell, a junior from Stevensville, Mich., is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering with the goal of developing next-generation prosthetic limbs that improve the body's interaction with a motor prosthesis through a neural interface.

Nicholas Pogranichniy, a sophomore from West Lafayette, is majoring in biochemistry. His long-term goal is to research non-linear optics.

Universities are permitted to nominate four students each year for Goldwater scholarships. This is the first year since 1999 that all four nominated Purdue students have won, reflecting the winners' impressive accomplishments, University officials say. Word of the students' selection came in April.

The National and International Scholarship Office (NISO) is housed within the Honors College and serves all of Purdue's students. It provides support services to students pursuing the Goldwater and other prestigious scholarships.

More information about NISO is available at www.purdue.edu/niso.