Connecticut College News
Conn Scientists Receive Recognition as Goldwater Scholars - Emily Zubkoff ´1204/20/2009
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program recently recognized Connecticut College students Laura Frawley ´10 and Andrew Margenot ´10. Frawley has been honored as a 2009 Goldwater Scholar and will receive a one-year scholarship of up to $7,500. She is majoring in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. She had the intent of pursuing the field of science from her first semester at Conn in which she took three science courses. "I started working in Dr. Grossel´s lab, washing dishes, and just by watching her other students research, I thought, ´wow this is really cool,´" Frawley said. Since her freshman year, Frawley has spent nearly five hundred hours of research with Dr. Grossel, a cancer researcher specializing in unchecked cellular division. This past summer Frawley stayed on campus doing research with Dr. Grossel as a part of an undergraduate science program at Connecticut College that allows selected students to do ten weeks of research with a stipend. Students work with a professor one-on-one, then at the end of the summer, students present their research to other students and professors. Frawley plans to use her research from program for a senior honor´s thesis. The research that Frawley presented in her application to the Goldwater scholarship studied cancer. "I talked about a specific protein and how it could affect whether or not someone got cancer." In the future, Frawley wants to get a Ph. D. or a M.D./Ph. D in molecular biology. She said, "I would be interested in having the M.D./Ph. D broaden my perspective so that I could combine the clinical work with research, and that would hopefully enable me to have a bigger picture of cancer." This summer, she hopes that her internship at MIT will help narrow her post-graduate studies. At MIT, she will work in the biology department and wants to work with Stem cells. Frawley attributes part of her success in science at Connecticut College to the professors. "If they weren´t so dedicated, I would never have had the opportunity to receive this scholarship. They´ve been guiding me a lot and providing incredible opportunities…there are a lot of great professors here." One of the opportunities Frawley referred to is her job working in a lab. "This year I´ve been able to work not only with Dr. Grossel but two post-docs in her lab, which is awesome because I´m getting these experienced scientists helping me and I get to learn from them and see what works and what doesn´t." Andrew Margenot ´10, a biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and philosophy major, was awarded with an honorable mention from The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Upon arriving at Connecticut College Margenot said, "I wasn´t really sure whether I wanted to go into chemistry or biochemistry or biology so I just came here with a pretty open mind and found myself liking chemistry." At Connecticut College Margenot has worked with Professor Branchini in his freshman year, Professor Grossel for two semesters, and now works in Professor Ovaska´s lab. Under Professor Ovaska, Margenot studies organic synthetic chemistry. Margenot is thankful for Professor Turner, Professor Kaczmarek, Professor Ovaska, and Professor Zimmer for writing him letters for the scholarship. Marc Zimmer, the Barbara Zaccheo Kohn ´72 Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, nominated both Margenot and Frawley. Margenot said, "Marc Zimmer sent me an email saying you´ve been sought out as a possible person to apply for this so I went through the process." Zimmer praised Margenot´s excellence as a student and ability to tutor both biology and chemistry students. In terms of receiving the recognition Margenot said, "I found out March 31, in fact, I was in class with Laura when she found out that she received the scholarship, then I found out after I received the mention. It was cool because we were both in class together when we found out about it." Margenot is not certain, however, if he wants to pursue studying science in the future. "I´m supposed to go to graduate school for science, that´s what the Goldwater scholarship is for, but I´m actually debating that now. It´s between either going for graduate work in philosophy or in sciences." Margenot expressed alternative future plans in a field of science other than chemistry. "I´m looking into a form of sustainable farming called permaculture. It´s a form of sustainable agriculture that has been formed over the past 10-20 years that´s mainly based in New Zealand and Australia. It´s not really taught in schools so you have to essentially be an apprentice for a few years to learn the trade, so I´m interested in perhaps taking time off to explore that, but I think I will end up in graduate school." He developed an interest for permaculture by researching the subject on the Internet. "First I went to these organic farming online boards, forums and then I found myself being pulled towards a more radical kind of farming in which there´s no synthetic inputs; you learn to work with nature as opposed to against it. For example, tilling is a common practice in which you essentially tear up the soil, but in doing you´re destroying all the networks that exist within the soil. The soil is a living organism that consists of yeast, bacteria, small bugs, and tilling just destroys that whole community. In permaculture you don´t till at all, you keep adding organic matter on top of the existing soil and you simply build soil." The Barry M. Goldwater scholarship was established by the United States congress in 1986 to support highly qualified student engineers, mathematicians, and scientists in college. Among the 1,097 students who applied in 2009 only 278 receive scholarships up to $7,500. Colleges and universities are permitted to nominate only four undergraduate students per year. Thus, this scholarship is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious for undergraduate scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.