Friday, April 8, 2016

CSUMB students earn Barry M. Goldwater scholarship

Juan Cerda and Jordan Collignon, who will be seniors in the fall, are the first students in the university’s history to earn the Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. Both are involved with the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center.

The Goldwater scholarships were established by Congress in 1986 and are awarded to undergraduates working toward degrees in engineering, math or the natural sciences. The goal of the program is to encourage a source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.

Cerda, a biology major from Hollister, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genomics or molecular and developmental biology, conduct research at the university level, and eventually become a university professor.

As a UROC scholar last summer, he worked with plant pathologist Timothy Miles to develop molecular tools to detect a fungal species in crops.

Collignon, from Seaside, is a math major who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. Last summer, he spent eight weeks at Valparaiso University in Indiana where he performed simulations involving the reintroduction of the passenger pigeon, a bird that went extinct in 1914.

The Goldwater scholarship, named after former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, helps recipients cover the costs of books, room and board, and tuition up to $7,500 for their remaining period of study.

More than 1,100 students were nominated for the scholarships; 252 were awarded.

“Needless to say, the competition for this honor is fierce, and earning it is quite an accomplishment,” said John Banks, UROC director. “Notably, Juan and Jordan were the only 2016 Goldwater awardees in the entire CSU system.”

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