08:15 AM

Four Ohio State University students recognized by Goldwater Scholarship

Four Ohio State University honors students have been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Juniors Scott Garner, Maya Gosztyla, and Griffin Spychalski were named 2017 Goldwater Scholars; Taylor Schaffner has been presented with an Honorable Mention. The Goldwater is the most prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, math, and engineering. Goldwater Scholars receive an award to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.

240 scholarships were awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,286 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. An additional 307 Honorable Mentions were also awarded. Each institution may only nominate four students for this award. Since the award's inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 55 Goldwater Scholars; forty-six of the university's last forty-eight nominees have been recognized as a scholar or honorable mention.

2017 Scholars:

Scott Garner

Scott Garner, a junior honors student in chemistry, is investigating the spectroscopy of reactive chemical intermediates with Dr. Terry Miller (Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry). Scott's current project analyzes the Jahn-Teller distortions in atmospherically important NO3 radicals through rotationally and vibrationally resolved spectra. Previously, he worked with Dr. Anne McCoy optimizing Diffusion Monte Carlo studies using Zundel water clusters. In addition, he spent a summer conducting toxicology research as an intern for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. When not focusing on his own academics, he helps other students excel in the sciences. Scott has served as a teaching assistant for the Department of Chemistry for multiple years, and was recognized in 2016 with their Distinguished Teaching Award. Scott also is active as Vice President of the Chemistry Club, a site leader for Pay It Forward, and a volunteer for Science Olympiad. After obtaining a PhD in physical chemistry, he plans a career as a university professor investigating topics in theoretical chemistry and spectroscopy.

Maya Gosztyla

Maya Gosztyla, a junior honors student in molecular genetics and neuroscience, is conducting research characterizing a collection of Drosophila natural population lines for defects in embryonic axon guidance with Dr. Mark Seeger (Dept. of Molecular Genetics). She previously conducted research at Ohio State on leptin signaling in type-2 diabetes and at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on the genetics of retinal development. Outside the laboratory, Maya is dedicated to fostering science communication between researchers and the public. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Young Investigators, an international student journal, and is the creator of AlzScience, a blog that presents the science of Alzheimer's disease and brain health in accessible language for the general reader. In addition, Maya is active with the Junior Committee of the Central Ohio Alzheimer's Association, Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s, and the Honors Collegium. After receiving a PhD in molecular neurobiology, she plans to dedicate her career to researching the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Griffin Spychalski

Griffin Spychalski, a junior honors student in biomedical engineering, conducts microfluidics research with Dr. Jonathan Song (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering). Their current work studies the effect of fluid forces on angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. His work was presented last fall at the annual meeting for the Biomedical Engineering Society. An Eminence Fellow, Griffin is the recipient of a 2016 American Heart Association Summer Research Fellowship, Undergraduate Research Office Summer Fellowship, and the Engineering Dean’s Scholarship. He is also an officer in Tau Beta Pi, volunteers at the James Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-founded PassGo, a service organization connecting local underemployed populations with meaningful employment. Griffin plans to pursue an MD/PhD in biomedical engineering and pursue a career developing microscale engineering technology to advance current methods of cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and multi-target therapy selection.

2017 Honorable Mention:

Taylor Schaffner, a junior honors student in physics, researches nuclear many-body problems with Dr. Richard Furnstahl (Dept. of Physics). His current project involves applying Bayesian statistical methods to effective field theory expansion coefficients. Previously, Taylor conducted high-energy physics research with Dr. Harris Kagan (Dept. of Physics). Taylor has been awarded the Biard Undergraduate Research Award, Smith Sophomore Award, and the Undergraduate Research Office Research Scholar Award. He is Vice President of the Holography Club, serves as a Physics Peer Mentor, and actively participates in Sigma Pi Sigma and the Society of Physics Students. Taylor plans to pursue a PhD in physics and a career as a professor pushing the boundaries of the utilization of computational tools in nuclear physics research.

A complete list of Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions, arranged by state of residence, can be found on the Goldwater website, https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/sch-2017.php.