March 21, 2010

Lauren Huyett ’11 Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Award is the nation’s premier undergraduate honor in math, science, and engineering; Ross Moretti ’12 receives an honorable mention

Lauren Huyett ’11 (Blandon, Pa.), a chemical engineering major, has achieved national distinction as the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship. Awarded for academic merit, the Goldwater is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering.

Ross Moretti ’12 (Freehold, N.J.), a chemistry major, received honorable mention. Moretti plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He would like to conduct research in synthetic organic chemistry and teach at the university level. He has performed EXCEL research with Jennifer Rutherford, assistant professor of chemistry, focusing on metal-catalyzed chemical reactions.

Huyett’s award will cover college costs up to a maximum of $7,500 next academic year. After Lafayette, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.

“The Goldwater application process definitely put me ahead of the curve for graduate school preparation,” she says. “I had to write a research proposal for the application, which was very challenging, and it also got me thinking about what kinds of things I want to research when I get to graduate school.”

She says receiving the scholarship has given her a significant amount of encouragement to continue pursuing her professional goals.

“My long-term career goal is to become a professor at a university and to do research in cell and tissue engineering,” says Huyett. “I want to make a difference in the quality of life of people who suffer from chronic incurable diseases, such as diabetics who develop foot and leg ulcers. I also hope to inspire future generations of biomedical engineers through teaching. I am very passionate about teaching, which is probably due to the teachers I have had who made an extraordinary impact on my life.”

One of those teachers is Patricia Darcy, assistant professor of chemical engineering. Huyett is working on EXCEL research with Darcy exploring the use of particles called reverse micelles as natural catalysts to perform chemical reactions on organic compounds. Their ongoing research will be continuing through the summer.

“My favorite part about chemical engineering is the fact that it integrates chemistry, mathematics, and physics to address a variety of problems that have significant applications in the real world.  Chemical engineers are involved in the production of nearly all the products we use on a daily basis, from our orange juice to our medications.”

For 10 weeks in the summer of 2009, Huyett participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She conducted research with Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering at WPI, to determine whether drinking cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infections. She presented her work at the 2009 Biomedical Engineering Society Conference in Pittsburgh.

Another part of the REU program was running a day camp mentoring middle school girls about the benefits of pursuing an interest in biomedical engineering.

“I enjoy participating in activities that encourage girls (or anyone, for that matter), to get involved in science and engineering. I know that I may not have ended up where I am now if it hadn’t been for the support and encouragement I received from my teachers and parents. I hope to be able to make that same difference in other people’s lives,” she says.

Huyett’s other activities include playing the flute in Concert Band and Pep Band, and she is a member of the Arts Society and Music Appreciation Floor. Huyett also spent the 2009 spring semester studying in Madrid, Spain, an experience that not many undergraduate engineering majors can pursue due to the heavy course load.

“I had an amazing experience, and highly recommend the program to other engineers who are interested in studying abroad. I was able to take the courses I needed to fulfill my major, while still getting to have the experience of living in another country. I loved traveling through Spain and learning about the history and culture of the country.”

Established by Congress in 1986, the scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. This year 278 scholarships were awarded for the 2010-11 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. The recipients were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

See a list of recent Lafayette recipients of national and international scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and post-graduate study. For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, associate dean of the College, (610) 330-5521.

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