2 Win Goldwater Scholarships
Occidental College juniors Adam Schawel of Martinez, Calif., and Riley Steiner of Spokane, Wash., have won prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.
The award allots up to $7,500 to incoming seniors and is given to students intending to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering fields.
Schawel, a biochemistry major, and Steiner, a biology/diplomacy and world affairs major, are among 317 Goldwater Scholarship winners from across the United States. The pair were selected from a field of 1,110 applicants. The award will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Schawel and Steiner are the 32nd and 33rd Occidental students to win a Goldwater Scholarship since 1990. The college is one of just 16 liberal arts colleges nationwide to have two or more Goldwater Scholarships this year.
"Receiving this award is very meaningful because my mentor professors, parents and peers have always encouraged me and pushed me to do well," said Schawel, who plans to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry. "I owe this honor to all of their guidance and help."
Schawel's research is in biophysical chemistry and focuses on examining and explaining the structural transformations of lipid bilayer membranes under different conditions. Lipid bilayers are a fundamental part of all living cells and are essential to cell function, yet how bilayer structure affects cellular function is not fully understood.
"Winning the Goldwater has been a wonderful affirmation of how my own goals have evolved," said Steiner. "It has also made me reflect on the number of mentors - from professors to research supervisors to fellow students - who have inspired me to use scientific research with respect to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to make a difference in the world."
Steiner is now studying abroad in Durban, South Africa. Her previous research at the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute involved microRNAs, which potentially regulate certain genes involved in cancer. Identifying molecular interactions offers the possibility of using microRNAs in anti-cancer therapy.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency honoring the late Arizona senator. In its 19-year history, the foundation has awarded more than 5,200 scholarships worth about $51 million.