Baylor Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

April 9, 2001

by LoAna Lopez

Baylor University student Brittany Sandvall, a sophomore bioinformatics major from Arlington, is one of 302 recipients from the U.S. and Puerto Rico of the Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The announcement was made this month by Dr. Hans Mark, chairman of the board of trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

"Goldwater is a national competition and the name is recognized as being one that rewards excellence," said Dr. Ann Rushing, associate professor of biology and the Goldwater Scholarship representative on the Baylor campus. "A student who has this on their record would be immediately recognized as having accomplished something significant."

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program, honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in math, science and engineering.

Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,164 mathematics, science and engineering students who are nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Almost all Goldwater Scholars intend to pursue a doctorate as their degree objective.

However, it may have been Sandvall's internship, Rushing said, that caught the attention of the scholarship committee.

Sandvall participated in an undergraduate research fellowship last summer at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas. She was among a group of scientists, researchers, professors and other students who concentrated their research on congenital heart defects among children.

"This scholarship really encourages me in my pursuit for scientific community interaction," said Sandvall, whose career goal is to become a doctor in biomedical research.

Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate sophomores and juniors. The award covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for two years beginning with the 2001-2002 academic year.

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 39 Rhodes Scholarships (eight of the 32 awarded in the U.S. in 2000 and six in both 1998 and 1999), 32 Marshall Awards, 11 Churchill, 10 Fulbright, 30 Hughes, 93 National Science Foundation, and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

The Foundation, in its 13-year history, has awarded 3,323 scholarships worth approximately $33 million. Trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2002-2003 academic year.

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