April 19, 2011
By Isaac Cotherman
Two SMU students have been awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, which recognize students who have shown excellence in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering.
The 2011 national scholarships have been awarded to sophomore Kent Fischer of San Angelo and junior Katherine Deland of Beaumont.
Fischer was named a Goldwater Scholar for his research project focused on the extraction of rare earth lanthanide elements crucial for electronics and other high-tech manufacturing.
With China responsible for 97 percent of global lanthanide production, Fischer says he is hopeful that his research findings can lead to “jump-starting domestic production and ultimately helping the U.S. compete globally.”
Fischer, who is pursuing a major in chemistry and minors in Spanish and math, plans to continue conducting his research under the mentorship of SMU chemistry professor Michael Lattman.
“I am ecstatic to have won this award,” Fischer says. “It brings me a little bit closer to my dream of becoming a research scientist and studying the awe-inspiring world around us.”
Deland, an SMU junior majoring in biochemistry, collaborated with Sandeep Burma, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Radiation Oncology Department on a research project investigating the role of a specific gene in suppressing the reproduction of cancer cells. The results of the research, she says, “will have implications in the treatment of human breast cancer.”
Deland intends to work in a research lab at Harvard this summer and then return to work at UT Southwestern during the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.
“This scholarship will be a blessing in my life, not only because it will help financially, but also because it will greatly assist me in pursuing a career in the highly competitive field of scientific research,” she says. “It gives me confidence that I am well equipped to become a cancer biologist.”
The Beaumont native plans to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer research and eventually become a research scientist at a university or private research institution.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to just 275 students across the nation. It covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.