April 1, 2009

Success in Goldwater Scholarship Awards Reflects Lafayette’s Distinctive Attributes

It’s the nation’s premier undergraduate honor in math, science, and engineering

With 16 Goldwater Scholarship recipients in the last eight years, Lafayette is unmatched by any other exclusively undergraduate liberal arts and engineering college.

Awarded for academic merit, the Goldwater is the nation’s premier undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering.

The latest recipients are Megan Cummins ’09 and James Vasta ’10, who were awarded Goldwaters last year. Cummins (Yardley, Pa.), a dual degree candidate (B.S. biology/A.B. math), plans to obtain a Ph.D. in biophysics or applied mathematics and to become a research physician specializing in the biophysics of cardiology and conducting research with clinical applications. Vasta (Ambler, Pa.), a biochemistry major, plans to obtain a doctorate in that discipline. He would like to conduct research in biochemistry and metabonomics and teach at the university level.

This year three students were awarded honorable mention in the Goldwater competition, Ashley Cramer ’10 (East Stroudsburg, Pa.), a chemical engineering major; Jennifer Grab ’10 (Thornhurst, Pa.), a dual degree candidate (B.S. physics/B.S. math); and Kathleen Sokolowsky ’10 (Downingtown, Pa.), another dual degree candidate (B.S. chemistry/B.S. math).

Lafayette’s success reflects its distinctive status as a liberal arts college with an outstanding engineering program. The Goldwater recipients include chemical engineering and mechanical engineering majors, along with biochemistry, biology, chemistry, math, neuroscience, and physics.

The success also reflects Lafayette’s leadership in opportunities for undergraduate research with faculty mentors. All of Lafayette’s Goldwater recipients participated in the College’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate with faculty on research projects while earning a stipend.

Another distinctive attribute is the opportunity to participate in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports. Among Lafayette’s Goldwater recipients who were standout athletes are Jaryd Freedman ’08 and Meghan Ramsey ’04, both of whom were awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Freedman, a swimmer, is attending Temple University’s School of Medicine. He was the 2008 recipient of the Class of 1913 Trophy, presented to the senior male and female student-athletes who have attained the greatest distinction as both an athlete and a scholar. Ramsey, a Patriot League soccer all-star, was a two-time winner of the ECAC’s Robbins Scholar-Athlete Award. She earned an M.D. at Stanford Medical School last year and is serving a residency in internal medicine at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. Frank Cortazar ’07, a two-time Patriot League baseball all-star, is now pursuing an M.D. at the University of Miami. Matt Patton ’02 was captain of the fencing team.

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