Student Scholars: College of Science
Goldwater Scholarships are the nation's preeminent scholarship for undergraduates in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. Two of the three Purdue students receiving this honor are from the College of Science.
James (Jay) Fazioli
From Los Altos, California, Jay Fazioli has a heart for community service and a thirst for scientific research. Fazioli is a junior in the College of Science and the John Martinson Honors College studying cell, molecular, and developmental biology. His desire for research and drive to dig deeper and learn more has grown stronger through his work in animal science with Alex Pasternak, assistant professor of reproductive biology in the College of Agriculture at Purdue. In Pasternak’s lab, Fazioli has engaged in research for drug trials on swine models, linking pig anatomies closely to humans and determining outcomes on frozen tissues. His research area concentrates on identifying additional ways to target and quantify disease, specifically in hypothyroidism. This research gives Fazioli professional skills in project management and research techniques that will lead to an opportunity to present a manuscript of findings, which will serve as his biological thesis project as well as his scholarly project for the honors college.
“Since joining my lab, Jay has been committed to learning new techniques and pushing the bounds of his knowledge,” says Pasternak. “The Goldwater Scholarship is a much deserved acknowledgement of his hard work and dedication over the past two years.”
In addition to his research work at Purdue, Fazioli has enjoyed an internship opportunity at the International Flavors & Fragrance Company (IFF) and is planning to intern at Eli Lilly in the summer of 2023. Through these experiences, he applies knowledge at the highest level and increases his development as a research scientist.
“While I only got a mere taste of achieving scientific discovery, the experience has solidified my desire to pursue a career as a scientist. Upon the completion of my internship with IFF, I found myself wishing I could postpone my studies to continue conducting the research beyond the scope of the internship.”
Fortunately, Fazioli will have plenty of opportunity to continue research as he plans to pursue a PhD in cellular and molecular biology. His aspiration is to enter the field of industrial biological research.
“I am determined to make an impact on the world with my research,” says Fazioli.
In addition to Fazioli’s recent Goldwater Scholarship, he was also awarded the 2023 Outstanding Junior Award through the department of biology at Purdue.
Along with his love of research, Fazioli has a strong desire for community service. He currently serves as the director of community service with WorldHealth Purdue and was previously the co-director of the group’s domestic service trip. His service didn’t start there. Fazioli was awarded the 2019 Gold Presidential Service Award while still in high school followed by earning the Eagle Scout Award in 2020, which included hundreds of hours of service, community engagement, and leadership experience.
From Melbourne, Florida, Abigail Soliven is a junior in the College of Science and the John Martinson Honors College majoring in Chemistry and minoring in English. Soliven cites her immediate feelings of camaraderie and community on campus as factors leading her to Purdue to study along with the academic opportunities provided by the university. As a daughter of a school administrator and teacher, she was well educated on the available resources for college choices.
Purdue was, decidedly, the right fit.
Claiming a fascination for chemistry that began at chemistry camp in high school, Soliven notes that her interest grew stronger after presenting at an international science fair in the tenth grade. Realizing science is where she fits best, she now spends much of her time in a research lab studying the ways that molecules fit together and shape the world. It’s that discovery that fuels her curiosity in organic chemistry.
“I'm simply really into chemistry. It fascinates me, and while lab days can get tough, I have so much fun with my work. I work to leave a legacy through discovery and to leave a lasting impact on future generations of scientists who are enamored with research, just like me," says Soliven.
Soliven has enjoyed two summer research experiences that have further shaped her delight in chemistry. Included in those experiences was a project with a chemistry group at Emory University in Georgia through the Research Experience for Undergrads program (REU). This summer she plans to stay at Purdue and continue her research with Christopher Uyeda, a Richard B. Wetherill Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.
An avid reader, Soliven is supplementing her chemistry major with a minor in English. For her, the ability to see connections through stories mirrors the logical processes and comprehension required to visualize science.
“When we publish a paper for chemistry, we’re examining the story we want to tell and how we can utilize the chemistry we’ve developed in that story,” Soliven says.
Soliven hopes to create new stories with her studies as she pursues a PhD in chemistry. Her interest in the creation of new reactions and possibilities for molecule construction is rooted in her intrigue in the possibilities to apply those reactions to different biological systems. A story she hopes to tell in depth in the future.
In addition to being named a Goldwater Scholar, Soliven is a Beering Scholar and has been nominated for the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship, an award granted to students excelling in STEM fields at the undergraduate level.
Soliven is a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society, serves as an ambassador for the honors college, volunteers for Boiler Gold Rush, and is an executive director of engagement and programming for Purdue Student Government.
If that schedule doesn’t seem busy enough, Soliven also plans to travel to Greece this May to study before returning to Purdue in June for more chemistry research.