Junior goes for Goldwater, wins
First UVM student in years
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 22:04
With three science and engineering students honored for their achievements this spring, the University has become a force in the collegiate research community.
Junior biochemistry major Susan Leggett received the Goldwater Scholar Award, which recognizes outstanding student research in the science, technology, engineering and mathematic disciplines.
“Winning this award has definitely made my academic efforts and dedication to research worthwhile,” Leggett said. “I was ecstatic when I found out that I was chosen as a 2012 Goldwater Scholar.”
Universities across the country can nominate up to four students who have GPAs above a 3.85 and significant research experience, according to University Communications.
Winners receive a financial aid scholarship of up to $7,500 a year in college expenses and the honor of national recognition, Leggett said. This year, only 282 students were awarded the scholarship nationwide.
Leggett said she has worked with research groups since her first year at UVM and became particularly interested in analytical chemistry techniques.
She is currently conducting research on lung fibrosis in the Department of Pathology at the College of Medicine with Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger and recently co-authored a publication in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
Professor Rory Waterman is the UVM adviser for the Goldwater Scholarship Group and helps students apply for the award after they are contacted by Undergraduate Fellowship adviser Britten Chase.
Two biochemistry majors, one biology major and one engineering major were nominated from UVM this year, Waterman said.
Leggett won the award and two other students received honorable mentions, he said.
“We’re excited about it,” Waterman said. “Susan was a great choice and two other students received honorable mentions, which was fantastic for the group of students.”
Leggett is the first UVM student to receive the award in several years, and the UVM community and her advisers are incredibly proud of her, he said.
Junior biochemistry major Kanita Chaudhry and junior mechanical engineering major David Bernstein were the two students who received honorable mentions.
“I’m extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in the Goldwater Scholarship Competition,” Chaudhry said. “I’m very happy that UVM had an excellent showing.”
Bernstein applied to the Goldwater Scholar Award with a paper about his research concerning antibiotic resistance, and said he was “very happy to be honorably mentioned.”
“I found that UVM offers really good support throughout the application process — Britt Chase and Rory Waterman were always available to help,” Bernstein said. “Overall applying for the Goldwater is a valuable experience even if you aren’t awarded anything, as it forces you to clarify you career goals.”
Leggett also said that applying for the Goldwater Scholarship helped her clarify her career aspirations.
She would like to combine her interests in science and medicine to someday obtain an M.D. or Ph.D. in immunology, conduct research in a clinical immunodiagnostic research laboratory and teach at a medical university.