NatSci undergraduates nominated for prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

  • Feb 2, 2018
  • research, national scholarship, students
  • Homepage News, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, Biochemistry, Chemistry, College of Natural Science, EES, Physics & Astronomy

Three College of Natural Science (NatSci) undergraduate students were among four nominated by Michigan State University for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship – the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in America. The honor provides up to two years of undergraduate tuition for each recipient.

The three NatSci nominees are: Nahid (Anna) Baghdadi, a junior majoring in chemistry; Brendyn Smith, a senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology; and Hunter Stanke, a sophomore majoring in ecological and environmental sciences. All are Honors College students.

Image of Anna Baghdadi

Nahid (Anna) Baghdadi

Baghdadi said the nomination was both an honor and an encouragement.

“This is definitely exciting for me and I am honored to be chosen as a nominee from MSU,” she said. “I believe this scholarship is an opportunity which could help me navigate my goal of becoming a professional researcher. Being nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship is the type of encouragement I needed to continue exploring pharmacology.”

Smith said he was also honored to be nominated.

Image of Brendyn Smith

Brendyn Smith

“Being selected as a nominee for this scholarship is something I had dreamed about since I began doing research my freshman year,” he said. “I am very happy to acknowledge my family and Professor Kevin Walker’s lab for their support and mentorship along the way. I would not have been able to do this without their help! I'm incredibly grateful for MSU's nomination.”

Smith said his plans to attend graduate school and discover new reactions and synthetic organic methodologies in the biomedical research field were given a boost by the nomination. “My goal is to one day build meaningful national and international collaborations,” he said. “Going to a graduate school that will help me build my professional network is going to be a huge benefit.”  

Stanke described his nomination as surreal. 

Image of Hunter Stanke

Hunter Stanke

“Two years ago, I wasn't even sure that I would come to college, let alone one day compete for the Goldwater Scholarship, so this nomination means the world to me,” he said. “I am incredibly proud to represent the ecological and environmental sciences in this competition. If my nomination inspires my peers to pursue applied scientific research in these disciplines, we can collectively solve the greatest environmental issues facing the world today.”

“I had the honor of being on MSU’s Goldwater Committee, and the quality of the applicant pool was extremely high,” said Mark Voit, NatSci associate dean for undergraduate studies. “We are, therefore, especially honored that three of the four Goldwater nominees are affiliated with the College of Natural Science.”

In addition to Baghdadi, Smith and Stanke, Gabriel Moreau, an Honors College sophomore majoring in physics in Lyman Briggs College and music in the College of Music, was also nominated.

“This nomination is the kind of opportunity I really appreciate and value here at MSU,” Moreau said. “This research-oriented scholarship could open doors and create opportunities for me in the sciences. It would help me continue my studies in physics here at MSU and attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in physics—either nuclear or high energy.”

MSU has produced 43 Goldwater Scholars since the scholarship program was established by Congress in 1986.


Banner image courtesy MSU.

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