Schreyer Scholar Alexander Smith awarded Goldwater Scholarship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Schreyer Honors College Scholar and biochemistry and molecular biology major Alexander Smith was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering. Scholarships were awarded to 240 individuals for the 2017-18 year.

Schreyer Scholars Rosalie Sowers, a sophomore computer science major, and Jason Cornelius, a senior aerospace engineering major, were among the 307 nominees named as honorable mentions.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of more than 1,200 undergraduate mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Each institution may only nominate four students for the scholarship each year.

Smith, of Reedsville, Pennsylvania, is a junior minoring in astrobiology and holds a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average. He is currently studying abroad at University College Dublin in Ireland.

“I'm beyond ecstatic to receive this honor,” Smith said. “This has been the culmination of a lot of hard work. As an aspiring scientist, there is nothing more gratifying or rewarding than having others see the potential in your work and in you as a researcher. Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship has really inspired me to forge ahead and pursue my passion and goal of alleviating suffering through biomedical research.”

Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 89 Rhodes Scholarships, 127 Marshall Awards, 145 Churchill Scholarships, 96 Hertz Fellowships and numerous other distinguished awards, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

“Alex is a highly valued, well-respected member of the Schreyer Honors College community,” said Schreyer Honors College Interim Dean Kathleen Bieschke. “In addition to his extraordinary academic accomplishments, he has outstanding leadership skills. Alex is well-positioned on every dimension to meaningfully influence the impact of biomedical research.”

Smith is a member of the Schreyer Honors College Student Council and the student ambassador group Science LionPride and involved in THON. He was a recipient of a 2016 Erickson Discovery Grant from Penn State’s Office of Undergraduate Education.

“Alex was a student in my inquiry-based section of the Introductory Microbiology Laboratory Course (MICRB 202), in which students learn both about microbiology and how to conduct scientific research by developing and testing their own hypotheses,” said Tim Miyashiro, Penn State assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. “The manner in which Alex has translated these important lessons to his current research project is truly remarkable and has made him most deserving of a Goldwater Scholarship.”

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The Scholarship Program honors Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served the United States for more than five decades as a soldier and statesman, and was designed to foster and encourage outstanding undergraduate students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Since its first award in 1989, the Goldwater Foundation has bestowed 7,921 scholarships worth approximately $63 million.

To learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship or other fellowship opportunities, visit the University Fellowships Office website. The University Fellowships Office is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education.  

The Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence with integrity, the building of a global perspective, and creation of opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Honors Scholars, including Gateway Scholars admitted after their first or second year of enrollment, total nearly 1,900 students at University Park and 20 Commonwealth campuses. They represent the top 2 percent of students at Penn State who excel academically and lead on campus.

Contacts: 

Jeff Rice

Work Phone: 
814-863-4560

Public Relations Assistant, Schreyer Honors College

Last Updated April 19, 2017