Three Undergraduates Receive Prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

Thursday, April 17, 2014
tim marquis

Timothy Marquis '15

For the first time ever, three UNH students — all New Hampshire residents — have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier national award for undergraduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors. This year’s Goldwater scholars from UNH are biomedical science majors Timothy Marquis ’15 and Avery Normandin ’15 and physics major Herbie Smith ‘15.

Goldwater awards no more than four scholarships per institution; while UNH has boasted two Goldwater scholars in previous years, it’s never had three in one year. Since 1989, 14 UNH students have received Goldwater scholarships, which provide a scholarship of $7,500.

“Universities are allowed to nominate only four undergraduate students per year to receive the scholarship and so competition for this most premier award is exceptionally intense,” says P.T. Vasudevan, interim senior vice provost for academic affairs and professor of chemical engineering. “The fact that three students were successful is testimony to their caliber, commitment and potential to make significant contributions in their respective fields. Support from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, the Fellowships Office, and high-quality mentoring were critical elements in their success in obtaining Goldwater scholarships.”

Vasudevan adds that the students’ ability to engage extensively in research began very early: All three students were recipients of Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP) grants as well as other grants from the Hamel Center.

Marquis, of Nashua, has been studying the reproductive neuroendocrinological hormones of the sea lamprey under the mentorship of professor Stacia Sower, whose lab he’s worked in since the beginning of his freshman year. “I attribute much of my individual and intellectual growth during these past few years to her,” he says, noting that he came to UNH largely because of the undergraduate research opportunities. “My devotion to undergraduate research has added a unique facet to my education at UNH.”

“The scholarship means a tremendous amount to me, as recognition for my dedication, integrity, and rigor in my academic and research endeavors,” adds Marquis, who received honorable mention in last year’s Goldwater competition and is in the UNH Honors Program. He plans to pursue a career in oncology, likely pursuing a dual M.D./Ph.D. in the field.

Avery Normandin ’15

Avery Normandin ’15

Normandin, of Manchester, has worked in the lab of Cheryl Whistler, associate professor of molecular, cellular and biomedical sciences, since his freshman year. There, he has investigated molecular mechanisms of virulence in Vibrio parahaemolyticus, an environmental pathogen found in oysters and other shellfish.

“UNH does a great job underscoring the value of undergraduate research, providing a ton of opportunities to get an early start in the lab,” says Normandin, who is also in the UNH Honors Program. “It's important to immerse yourself in what you're learning, especially if you're a hands-on kind of person.” After UNH, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical science and conduct research in vaccine design to enhance immunity against infectious viral agents.

Smith’s research is in two subfields of physics: string theory, for which he is mentored by associate professor Per Berglund, and optics, for which professor William Hersman is his mentor. He is focused on analyzing and optimizing an optical system used by Xemed, LLC, a medical imaging company launched by Hersman; with Berglund, he seeks models of the dimensions of string theory beyond the four dimensions experienced in daily life.

Herbie Smith ’15

Herbie Smith ’15

“I was welcomed into the research community in the physics department at UNH as soon as I expressed my interest, and all of my research mentors have been instrumental to my success, both in teaching me new skills related to the research I have done and in providing guidance and information about opportunities that suit my interests and skill set,” says Smith, who is in the UNH Honors Program and is a McNair Scholar. The Rocky Face, Georgia, native who now calls Newmarket home plans to earn a Ph.D. and possibly an MBA en route to a career as a physicist and an entrepreneur.

“I think it speaks to the level of education and engagement that UNH provides that three students out of the roughly 300 chosen from hundreds of universities nationwide for the Goldwater are from UNH this year,” Smith adds.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

  • Written By:

    Staff writer | Communications and Public Affairs