Student Success Stories
Selected by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Student Success Team based on applications, these students exemplify the range of experiences and opportunities provided to undergraduate students in the College of Science. As graduating seniors they share their stories to inspire and motivate others.
2022 Student Stories
2021 Student Stories
2020 Success Stories
Goldwater Scholarships are the nation's preeminent scholarship for undergraduates in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. Three of the four Purdue students receiving this honor are from the College of Science.
Robert Gustafson is pursuing majors in physics and astronomy, and mathematics. He stood out as a leader among his peers in physics since early in his studies in associate professor of physics and astronomy Raphael Lang's dark matters research group. His independent spirit further shined through in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory when he was able to propose a new method of using neutrinos to determine the interiors of solar system bodies. "My research experiences have been extremely rewarding," he said. "I have greatly appreciated the opportunities to utilize creative independence within a larger collaboration and arrive at tangible conclusions that push the scientific community forward."
Lindsey Wilson is pursuing a major in genetics. For over two years, she has conducted research on phage folding in the lab of Nicholas Noinaj, an associate professor of biology. Her research and leadership in the area of genetic mutation and disorders continues to impress her professors and colleagues. "Little is known about the impact of many mutations involved in genetic disorders," she said. "I aspire to fill the gaps in our knowledge by drawing connections between the mutations and the symptoms of the genetic diseases."
Alexandra Stiffler is pursuing a major in ecology, evolution, and environmental sciences. She shines as a scientific researcher and a community leader. Stiffler has conducted research on Fic proteins in the lab of Seema Mattoo, an assistant professor of biology, for more than three years. She is described by her professors and mentors as excelling in collaboration and displaying a high degree of intercultural competency. "Many biologists ask why organisms display a particular type of behavior," she said. "However, I seek to discover the 'how' and am building a background in biochemistry and microbiology to do so."
Andrew Santos is a graduating senior in the College of Science and the Honors College with a major in physics and astronomy. His Fulbright offer is to research neutrinos with the Leprince-Ringuet Laboratory (LLR) at École Polytechnique in France. This is a natural extension of experimental work for Santos, who worked on neutrino oscillations in a summer REU program in astrophysics, and has served as president for both Purdue Impact Theory, a student science communications organization, and for the Purdue Science Student Council.
Maya Black is a graduating senior in the College of Science and the Honors College with majors in genetics and cell, molecular, and developmental biology. She applied to teach English in Spain. She is a leader in scholarly approaches to diversity, as well as an excellent researcher. As a student diversity officer in the Honors College, she led a variety of workshops, film screenings, and panel discussions related to diversity, equality, and social justice. Upon returning to the United States, she intends to enter the medical field.
Will Austin graduated from Purdue in May 2019 from the College of Science and the College of Agriculture with a bachelor's degree in health and disease, and entomology, and is now a graduate student. He has set his sights on Thailand, where he will be teaching English, with a goal to gain an intercultural perspective on tropical diseases. This will enhance his ability to combat neglected tropical disease in the future.
Eryn Sale is a graduating senior in the College of Science with a major in neurobiology and physiology, and a second major in genetics. Her Fulbright offer is to study cell types in the brain through the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Norway. On a Fulbright, she will also engage with the public dissemination of the institute's work, via video platforms and blogs, aiming to communicate neuroscience to the general public. This is especially fitting for Sale, as her interests lie at the intersection between biophysics and public policy.