Published: April 3, 2015

Two MSU students receive Goldwater Scholarship for STEM

Contact(s): Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore Honors College office: (517) 35-2326, Kristen Parker University Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

Two Michigan State University undergraduate researchers studying STEM-related fields have been awarded the nationally competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The scholars are Rebecca Carlson, an Honors College sophomore majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering and Chinese in the College of Arts and Letters, and Megan Kechner, an Honors College junior majoring in neuroscience in Lyman Briggs College and psychology in the College of Social Science.

Two MSU students also received honorable mentions: Christine Isaguirre, an Honors College sophomore majoring in biosystems engineering in the College of Engineering, and Aaron Oom, an Honors College junior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology in Lyman Briggs College.

The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics or engineering who display intellectual intensity and have the potential for significant contribution in their chosen field. The scholarship funds undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students planning careers in research.

With the addition of Carlson and Kechner, MSU has produced 42 Goldwater Scholars since Congress established the program in 1986.

“Rebecca and Megan are talented students who chose to enrich their education by working collaboratively with faculty on some of the extraordinary research taking place at Michigan State University,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “We are proud they have been named Goldwater Scholars and are now part of this prestigious group.”

Carlson, from Rockford, Michigan, is a research assistant in professor S. Patrick Walton’s Applied Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory, studying how RNA molecules interact in the design of treatments for diabetes mellitus.

Carlson is a member of the student editorial board for the Red Cedar Undergraduate Research Journal and the Women in Engineering and Bridges International. She also received an MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholarship.

“I am very humbled to receive this award, which is a testament to the wonderful support and encouragement that I have received from students and faculty alike at Michigan State,” Carlson said. “I am grateful for the chance to participate in research and learn from outstanding mentors.”

Kechner, from Davison, Michigan, is a research assistant in professor Michelle Mazei-Robison’s lab determining the specific signaling changes in the human brain that contribute to addiction and mood disorders.

She’s a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the MSU’s Neuroscience Club and presented research in November 2014 to the Society for Neuroscience. Kechner is a recipient of the Lyman Briggs College Undergraduate Research Award.

“To be recognized as a Goldwater Scholar means a great deal to me,” Kechner said. “I have found so much enthusiasm for research and it has been one of the most influential aspects of my academic career. I am overjoyed to be surrounded by such exceptional opportunity and mentorship here at Michigan State.”