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Two Mount Students Named Goldwater Scholars

Donna Klinger

Coad Science Building

Two Mount St. Mary’s University students have been awarded a 2023-24 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate award for students intending to pursue research careers in the fields of natural science, mathematics, and engineering.

Sophomore Lincoln Queale and junior Shaheer Syed are among the 413 U.S. college students selected for the scholarship this year from a pool of more than 1,267 sophomores and juniors nominated by 427 colleges and universities.  Goldwater Scholars receive one- or two-year scholarships that cover up to $7,500 per year in tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

“Our two students’ success in this competition is truly exceptional,” said Jamie A. Gianoutsos, Ph.D., director of the Office of Competitive Fellowships and associate professor of history. “Over the past five years, seven accomplished Mount students have won this prestigious award, which is a credit both to their outstanding academic and research work on and off campus and the support of their faculty.”

lincoln-queale.jpgLincoln Queale is the second Mount sophomore to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. A chemistry major who is minoring in biology and mathematics, Queale came to the Mount after serving in the U.S. Air Force as a Korean linguist. In his first semester, he sought research experience with the science faculty. Under the direction of Associate Professor of Environmental Science Abigail Kula, Ph.D., Queale assisted in a variety of projects, including the collection of biodiversity data on a solar farm. Also, during his first year, he worked with Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Rachel Hartnett, Ph.D., collecting and surveying biodiversity after collating existing data for local climate, biogeochemistry and hydrology.

Queale of Emmitsburg, Maryland, recently joined the lab of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sarah Krueger, Ph.D., C’17, where he is researching novel treatments for Huntington’s disease. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry and then conduct research and teach at a university. “Theoretical chemistry specifically allows for the pursuit of new conceptual approaches that get at the essence of chemistry and enable innovative techniques, technologies and methodologies to be developed, while still referring back to a concrete physical reality,” he explained.

Queale is grateful to Kula, Hartnett, and Krueger for writing recommendation letters.

shaheer-syed-in-text.jpgShaheer Syed, a junior honors student who graduated from Frederick High School in Maryland, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in structural and computational biology to study DNA repair mechanisms using computational methods for protein identification, prediction of binding sites, and genomic data analysis.

Recognizing the importance of advanced computational techniques in understanding the complexities of biological systems, Syed chose to major in biochemistry and data science. “My data science major includes a concentration in computational science, which contains additional coursework covering advanced topics in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” he said. “With their ability to uncover patterns and correlations in data, machine learning and artificial intelligence can provide invaluable insights and help us make informed decisions, leading to breakthroughs in understanding molecular interactions, drug design, and therapeutic interventions, ultimately shaping the future of biochemistry research and science as a whole.”

Syed has spent several semesters conducting research in the laboratory of Associate Professor of Chemistry Patrick Lombardi, Ph.D., through which he coauthored a paper for the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This semester he also joined the lab of Assistant Professor Daniel Salinas Duron, Ph.D., where they are leveraging single-cell transcriptomics and bioinformatics to characterize omental metastasis in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma. Syed worked last summer at the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in the laboratory of Adriaan Bax, Ph.D., developing an improved model for monitoring hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HDX), using NMR. Syed is grateful to the NIH’s Bax as well as Lombardi and Assistant Professor Rebecca Portier, for writing recommendation letters.

Over the last five years, seven Mount students have received this award, including Veronica Balick, C’20, who later was awarded a Fulbright United Kingdom Study Award to the University of Nottingham and now is pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer biology at George Washington University; Nicholas Starvaggi, C’21, who last year was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University; Bradley Owen, C’21, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina; Julia Baer, C’21, who is pursuing a doctorate in ocean sciences at University of California Santa Cruz; and Rita Anoh, C’23, a biochemistry and French major who received the award as a sophomore.

The Goldwater Committee, comprised of Krueger; Director Gianoutsos; Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Brian Heinhold, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Psychology Angy Kallarackal, Ph.D.; and Director of the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship Garth Patterson, Ph.D., provided support for the students’ applications and research essays.

Patterson, Kallarackal and Gianoutsos also are Competitive Fellowships Committee members. Other members of the Competitive Fellowships Committee, led by Gianoutsos, are Christine Blackshaw, Ph.D., competitive fellowships associate director and associate professor of Spanish, Associate Professor of Business Josey Chacko, Ph.D.; and Associate Professor of Education Michelle Ohanian, Ph.D.

Established in 1986 by the U.S. Congress, the Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming the nation’s next generation of research leaders in the areas of natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Donna Klinger