Three Villanova University Students Named Goldwater Scholars

Three Villanova University students named Goldwater Scholars

VILLANOVA, Pa.—Three Villanova University students have been named as 2018 Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Kali Carrasco (Brookfield, Wis.), a Biology major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS); Claire Teahan (Eastchester, N.Y.), a Chemistry major in CLAS; and, Alexander Vetter (Omaha, Neb.), a Mathematics major in CLAS, were selected as Goldwater Scholars from a group of nearly 1,300 faculty-nominated students nationwide. The three Goldwater Scholars in 2018 set a new one-year mark for the University. Andrew Lee (Leonardtown, Md.), a Mechanical Engineering major in the College of Engineering, was also recognized by the Goldwater Program receiving Honorable Mention.

“The success of our students in this year’s Goldwater Scholars program is remarkable,” said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD.” It’s a testament to their tireless efforts in the lab and classroom, as well as the commitment of Villanova faculty and staff mentors to help them achieve their academic goals. Congratulations to Kali, Claire, Alexander and Andrew on this prestigious honor.”

The Goldwater Foundation awards $7,500 scholarships to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. It is widely considered the preeminent award for undergraduates preparing for research careers in STEM.

The 2018 Villanova University Goldwater Scholars are:

  • Kali Carrasco is a Biology major and Villanova Beckman Foundation Scholar who works with the roundworm C. elegans, studying how the expression of certain genes related to the ins-1/IGF insulin-signaling pathway contribute to the functional decline of tissues that occurs with aging. She conducts this work as part of Dr. Matthew Youngman’s group and has also conducted research with Dr. Troy Shirangi. Carrasco has presented her work at multiple meetings and authors biology content for a study platform. She tutors students in Genetics, General Biology, and General Chemistry, and teaches English as a second language to adults at Centro San Jose. She will pursue a career in molecular biology and research on carcinogenesis to help inform innovative cancer therapies.
  • Claire Teahan is a Chemistry major who joined the research group of Dr. Jared Paul early in her first year at Villanova. She was awarded the James J. and Ann M. O’Malley Research Fellowship in 2016 and the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2017. Teahan’s research has centered on advancing alternative renewable energy sources to solve the critical issue of fossil fuel dependence. While studying abroad in Fall 2017, she joined a lab at the National University of Ireland Galway, designing an independent project. Teahan aspires to research and teach at the university level after pursuing graduate studies in catalytic chemistry and renewable energy. At Villanova, she is the Vice President of the Villanova Chemistry Society and co-founder of the Chemistry Peer Mentorship Program in addition to holding a leadership role in Blue Key.
  • Alexander Vetter is a Villanova Presidential Scholar and Mathematics major with a Computer Science minor. He was a Match Research Program grantee as a freshman and worked with Dr. Michael Brown in Psychology and Brain Sciences. Vetter also participated in an independent research study with Dr. Andrew Woldar on graph theory and projective geometry in Summer 2016 and was selected as a National Science Foundation REU student to research coding theory at Clemson in Summer 2017. He spent his junior year abroad, studying in two math-focused programs in Budapest and Moscow. In Summer 2018, Vetter will conduct mathematics research at the University of Minnesota as a NSF REU grantee. He intends to pursue a research career in applications of algebra and combinatorics and intends to teach and mentor students as a professor.

Receiving 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mention was:

  • Andrew Lee is a Villanova Presidential Scholar and Mechanical Engineering major who began his research career in Dr. Gang Feng’s research group as a Villanova Match Research Program grantee, studying thermal enhancement of phase change materials via conductive nano-scale networks. He won a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2016, but chose to accept an engineering research position with the Pax River NAVAIR Materials Division. In 2017, Lee pursued materials research in Grenoble, France as part of the Research and Education in Active Coating Technologies cohort, which solidified his ambition to pursue a research career focused on materials science. Lee aspires to work in a national lab and then become a professor after pursuing graduate studies in materials science.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 30 years in the United States Senate. The program is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, click here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit