Howard, Jacobs honored with Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship awards

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State undergraduate students Michael Howard and Nathan Jacobs each have been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship for the current academic year.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, established by Congress in 1986 to honor former U.S. Senator Goldwater, is a distinguished undergraduate scholarship initiative that was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields. This highly prestigious and competitive award is granted to up to 300 students nationwide and is based on the student's field of study, career objectives and the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution to his or her field. For the current academic year, 282 scholarships were awarded nationally. 

Howard, a senior from Avondale, Pa., majoring in chemical engineering, is one of only 58 engineering students nationwide to receive the scholarship. He is a Schreyer Honors College student whose research focuses on computational and experimental investigation of flow-induced crystallization and nucleation of isotactic polypropylene.

During the summer of 2010 he was involved in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates. The resulting work, "Analytical simulations of the Rouse model in shear flow," won him first place in the Soft Materials Poster Competition. In 2011 he co-authored a paper with his adviser, Scott Milner, professor of chemical engineering and materials science and engineering, which was published in the journal Physical Review. After graduating in May, Howard plans to pursue a doctoral degree in chemical engineering focused on research polymer physics.

Jacobs is pursuing two undergraduate degrees in the Eberly College of Science, one in ecology and one in immunology and infectious disease. He is interested in studying disease pathogenesis and began working in the laboratory of Eric Harvill, associate professor of microbiology and infectious disease, during his freshman year at Penn State.

Jacobs has studied the effects of the Type VI Secretion System (T6SS) in Bordetella bronchiseptic, which causes kennel cough in dogs and is a close relative of Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree studying how ecological and evolutionary processes shape infectious diseases, how diseases propagate on a population level, and the possible methods for preventing a single infection from developing into a devastating epidemic. 

Last Updated January 10, 2014