Four Oregon State students honored by Barry M. Goldwater Foundation

Three Oregon State University students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, an annual award given for the nation’s top undergraduate student research scholars in science, math and engineering by the federally endowed Goldwater Foundation. A fourth student has received an honorable mention, making this OSU’s most successful year ever in the annual competition.

“Each campus is allowed to nominate four students for the award and for the first time, all four students nominated by OSU were recognized by the national Goldwater selection committee,” said Kevin Ahern, director of undergraduate research at Oregon State.

The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

The four awardees are all students in the University Honors College and the College of Science. They are:

Helen Hobbs (Photo: Kevin Ahern)

Helen Hobbs (Photo: Kevin Ahern)

Helen Hobbs, a junior from Butte, Montana, is majoring in biochemistry/biophysics. She is a two-time participant in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute program and is currently researching the molecular basis of aging with professor Tory Hagen. She aspires to a research career.

Thomas Pitts (Photo: Jill Wells)

Thomas Pitts (Photo: Jill Wells)

Thomas Pitts, a junior from Ontario, Oregon, is majoring in math and conducts research in mathematics education and theoretical mathematics, with an emphasis on algebra and number theory. He has worked in OSU’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program in Mathematics and studies under professor Tevian Dray. His goal is research and teaching at the university level.

Justin Zhang (Photo: Kevin Ahern)

Justin Zhang (Photo: Kevin Ahern)

Justin Zhang, a junior from Beaverton, is majoring in biochemistry/biophysics. He has worked with associate professor Jeffrey Greenwood since his freshman year studying glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain cancer. Zhang has done internships at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sloan-Kettering. He is looking forward to a research career in human health.

James Rekow (Photo: Jill Wells)

James Rekow (Photo: Jill Wells)

James Rekow, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry/biophysics from Portland, works with associate professor Andrew Buermeyer on mechanisms of DNA repair and mutation relating to colon cancer. He has been involved in undergraduate research since his freshman year, including an internship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. After attaining his Ph.D. in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Rekow plans to conduct research in genetic toxicology and teach at the university level.

“The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering,” said Board of Trustees Chair Peggy Goldwater Clay in announcing the awards. “The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.”

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