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Haefsa Mansour

Haefsa Mansour

2014 Goldwater Scholar & 2013 Goldwater Honorable Mention


Mentor, OH


Chemical Engineering


College of Engineering / Honors College


Haefa Mansour is going places. With a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for STEM students in her pocket, this junior from Ohio in the College of Engineering and Honors College is taking her research in chemical engineering to national academic competitions, internships, and the halls of the U.S. Congress.


You won a Barry Goldwater scholarship, congratulations! This shows that you have been conducting research as an undergraduate. What was in your research proposal? My research is about the production and characterization of a recombinant protein for surgical adhesive applications. Basically, we’re trying to create a new protein that has both adhesive and elastic properties so that it can be used as a biocompatible surgical glue. The inspiration for this project comes from the remarkably sticky proteins that mussels use to adhere to underwater surfaces, as well as the flexible proteins found throughout human skin that allow for its elasticity.


How were you able to get in on research so early, as an undergraduate? I started a volunteer research position in Birck Nanotechnology Center as a freshman. It opened my eyes to the exciting world of research and piqued my interest in scientific experimentation.


Who has helped you in the lab? I am very grateful to my graduate student mentor Janie Brennan and research advisor Dr. Julie C. Liu, both of whom have taught me quite a bit about the research process. They have also played a large part in shaping my professional development.


How did they do that? They have both helped me to become a better researcher by teaching me to always ask questions and think critically. Dr. Liu in particular has taught me to be very methodical and organized with my work, as well as to be precise with my language when I am giving an oral presentation or writing a paper. Both of them have been excellent mentors and have offered me professional advice and guidance; I am very grateful to have worked under them.


This semester you were invited to participate in "Posters on the Hill," an event in which students around the nation travel to Washington, D.C. to present their research to congressional representatives and speak with them about the importance of undergraduate research. What did you tell them? I told them about how my research experiences have greatly enhanced my education, as they have provided me the opportunity to work on open-ended problems and develop my creativity and critical thinking skills. I think it is very important that these research programs are well-funded and students are encouraged to pursue knowledge in STEM fields.


What are you doing this summer? I will be in Minneapolis working for 3M in order to get a taste of the industrial side of research before I continue on to graduate school in a couple of years.


You are also a Stamps Scholar. How does this work together with the Goldwater Scholarship? I was fortunate enough to have been selected as a Stamps Scholar when I entered the University as a freshman, which has greatly lessened the financial burden of attending college. The Goldwater Scholarship was awarded to me this year only for my current achievements in research and potential for a research-oriented career.