CMU nominates four students to compete for Goldwater Scholarship

Karleigh Cameron, Amanda Clark, David Hicks and Randall Hoyle are CMU’s 2013 Goldwater nominees.

Each is one of the nearly 1,100 college and university students across the nation to be nominated.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986, and is the namesake of Barry M. Goldwater, who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. The award is given annually to approximately 300 college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate excellence in their fields and are committed to pursuing a career in mathematics, engineering, or natural sciences. Each institution is permitted to nominate up to four candidates each year. 

Karleigh Cameron, nominated to compete for a Goldwater scholarship, is a junior Honors student and Centralis Scholar from South Boardman majoring in applied mathematics and minoring in environmental studies. She is spending the spring 2013 semester studying at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Cameron joined CMU’s Long-term Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE) program after the spring 2011 semester. She spent the summer of 2011 conducting research on second generation wavelets with three other students and a faculty adviser.

She presented her work with LURE at a national and an international conference: MathFest in Lexington, KY; and Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston, MA. The work was later published in the International Journal of Applied Mathematics.

Cameron entered the Summer Undergraduate Research in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM) at Michigan State University in May 2012. She worked with one other student, and used bifurcation analyses to develop a more effective estimation technique for dynamical systems. Her work with SURIEM was presented at MathFest 2012 in Madison, WI.

Cameron has also served as a mentor for HON 100: Introduction to Honors and as treasurer of Larzelere Hall, and has been a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, as well as several intramural sports teams. She has worked as a tutor at the Mathematical Assistance Center, as a grader for the Mathematics Department, and as a Larzelere Hall Desk Receptionist.

She said one of her professors, Dr. Lisa Demeyer, Mathematics faculty, having had Cameron in class and seen some of her work, first encouraged her to apply. “I’m so thankful to central for all the support they’ve given me,” Cameron said. “I know that if I hadn’t gone to Central, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities. All of my advisers have been a huge help in getting me where I am today.”

Cameron plans to go to graduate school for engineering or applied mathematics and work for the government or in industry.

Amanda Clark, nominated to compete for a Goldwater scholarship, is a sophomore from Three Oaks majoring in biochemistry. She is Vice President of the CMU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society and a CMU McNair Scholar.

Clark has been working under Dr. Choon Lee for about a year. Dr. Lee’s lab is working on the organic synthesis of antioxidant dendrimers. The goal is to create a new antioxidant dendrimer which will be more effective against free radicals than those naturally occurring, helping prevent cancer and other diseases.

Clark contacted Dr. Lee on the suggestion of another professor after Clark expressed interest in being involved in research on the synthesis of new medicines. She started off cleaning beakers and shadowing graduate students, and, after time, was assigned more responsibility in the lab, such as learning how to run column chromatography to purify the antioxidant dendrimers being made in the lab.

Clark said the money from the scholarship would help ease some of the financial burdens of school. With both of her parents deceased, she bears the full responsibility of financing her education. She would be able to go without having a part-time job, giving her more time to spend on her research and studies.

Clark plans to earn a PhD in medicinal chemistry or pharmacology and pursue a career as a researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or another cancer institute and work to develop better treatments for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

David Hicks, nominated to compete for a Goldwater scholarship, is a junior Honors student from Farmington Hills majoring in physics and minoring in mathematics. He is a member of the Central Michigan University Honors Program, the Society of Physics Students, and the American Physics Society.

Hicks is currently doing physics research under two professors.

Since January 2012, Hicks has been working under Dr. Veronica Barone doing computational and experimental battery research. Hicks applied for a summer research grant to continue his work under Dr. Barone over the summer of 2012. He presented this work at an undergraduate poster session during the July 2012 American Chemical Society Conference in Dearborn, MI. The research results are expected to be published sometime this year.

In January 2013, Hicks began working with Dr. Matthew Redshaw, a nuclear physicist at CMU. Their work will involve a collaborative effort with Michigan State University to build a Penning trap for atomic nuclei, which will allow physicists to gather more accurate data on the masses of fast-decaying radioactive isotopes.

Outside of his major, Hicks is involved in music. He is a vocalist for CMU’s Advanced Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Singers, and Central Harmony, an a cappella group.
Hicks plans to earn a PhD in physics and pursue a career at NASA.

Randall Hoyle, nominated to compete for the Goldwater Scholarship, is a junior Honors student from Midland majoring in biochemistry. Hoyle is a member of the CMU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society.

Hoyle has been working under Dr. Minghui Chai since the end of his freshman year, in the summer of 2011. His research focuses on using dendrimers – commercially available hyper-branched polymers – with commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to improve their efficiency and reduce side effects.

It was Dr. Chai that encouraged Hoyle to apply for the scholarship. Chai’s colleague at another university recently had two students win the award. During her time at CMU, she has searched for a student qualified enough to compete. She found one in Hoyle.

Winning the scholarship would enable Hoyle to live in Mt. Pleasant over the summer and focus exclusively on his research. “It’s expensive living here in the summer,” Hoyle said. “I tried working as a painter last summer and spent all my time and energy on my job and not on my research.”

Outside of his research, Hoyle is an active musician. He has played trumpet in the CMU Marching Band for 3 years, and is currently a rank captain. He is also a member of the CMU basketball band. For approximately 5 years, he has been in the rock band Archana with his sister, brother, and two other close friends.

Despite the long application process, Hoyle said he is optimistic and thankful for the opportunity to be the first CMU student to earn the scholarship. “I’ve had a lot of support from my family and friends, from Dr. Chai, and from the university, and I appreciate all of that. Fingers crossed,” he said, and knocked on the table. “I think this is going to be our year.”

Hoyle plans to earn a Ph.D. in biochemistry and work in the private sector to develop new medicines.