Two Juniors Awarded Goldwater Scholarships

The scholarship for those interested in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering, provides $7,500 toward fees, books, room and board...

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By Krishna Ramanujan via the Cornell Chronicle, 4/15/13

Jon Carter Loftus ’14 and Devin McMahon ’14, both in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, were awarded 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships. The scholarship for college sophomores and juniors who intend careers in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering, provides $7,500 toward fees, books, room and board.

Loftus, a double major in biology (with a concentration in neurobiology and behavior) and in natural resources (with a concentration in applied ecology), plans an academic career after pursing a Ph.D. in animal behavior. He conducts research on honeybee behavior with Cornell entomologist Tom Seeley, has done field research on wild dolphin acoustic communication, and volunteers at Cornell's Center for Animal Resources and Education socializing dogs used in research. A member of the men's polo team, he has been named to the 400 Club, which each semester recognizes varsity athletes who achieved GPAs of 4.0 in the prior semester.

McMahon, a biology major (with a focus in ecology), plans to earn a Ph.D. in ecology. She spent last summer and fall semester as a research and extension intern in natural resources, collecting data related to forest management and natural gas pipelines as well as studying salamander populations as indicators of forest floor health. In the summer of 2011 she worked in Cornell's Stem Cell Summer Research Program and as a research assistant in molecular biology and genetics. A member of the cross-country and track and field teams, in 2012 she won a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Track All-Academic national award in recognition of her academic record and athletic performance.

Jamilla Akhund-Zade ’14, a biology major with a concentration in genetics, and Katherine L. Walker '14, a chemistry major and math minor, both in Arts and Sciences, received honorable mentions.

Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed more than 6,550 scholarships worth approximately $40 million.

This year's campus endorsement committee consisted of Bill Crepet, plant biology; Jim Morin, ecology and evolutionary biology; Laurel Southard, director of Undergraduate Research; Todd Walter, biological and environmental engineering; and Mariana Wolfner, molecular biology and genetics.

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