VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University student Taylor Brown—a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) with majors in Biochemistry and Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, as well as a minor in Business—has been named a 2017 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. She was selected on academic merit from nearly 1,300 faculty-nominated students nationwide. Kate Henderson, a junior Environmental Science major in CLAS with a minor in Biology, was also recognized by the Goldwater Program receiving Honorable Mention.
“The Goldwater Scholarship is an award that recognizes outstanding undergraduate academic achievement, said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “The success of Villanova students in this competition reflects not only our students’ exceptional academic accomplishments, but also Villanova’s commitment to undergraduate research with dedicated faculty mentors. Congratulations to Taylor and Kate on this prestigious honor.”
Brown, from Smithtown, New York, has been engaged in research since eighth grade, when she began working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she has worked every subsequent summer. While at Villanova, Brown joined the research group of Benjamin Sachs, an assistant professor in Villanova’s Department of Psychology, which examined endorphin levels in mice that have been administered antidepressant pharmaceuticals. Brown plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical sciences conducting research in neuropharmacology and genetics to better understand the processes that control drug and alcohol addiction.
Henderson, from Havertown, Pennsylvania, focuses on ecological systems. In 2016, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award to study the role of insects in promoting plant growth and biodiversity. Henderson received a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow Grant in 2015 to study Antarctic sediment samples with Steven Goldsmith, an assistant professor in Villanova’s Department of Geography and the Environment. Henderson plans to pursue a doctorate in ecology and to research the applications of the theory of island biogeography to fragmented habitats in the tropics.
“Our teacher-scholar model creates truly exciting opportunities for our students to pursue collaborative research alongside renowned faculty who make teaching their priority and education their mission,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Dean, Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We are tremendously proud of Taylor and Kate.”
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.