03:35 PM

Four students recognized by Goldwater Scholarship

Four Ohio State honors students have been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Juniors Lagnajit (Lucky) Pattanaik and Ross Vasko were named 2016 Goldwater Scholars; Maggie Grau and Kaeli Hughes have been presented with Honorable Mentions. 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.

Two hundred fifty-two scholarships were awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of academic merit from a field of over 1,150 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. An additional 256 Honorable Mentions were also awarded. Each institution may nominate only four students for this award. Since the award's inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 52 Goldwater Scholars; 42 of the university’s last 44 nominees have been recognized as a scholar or honorable mention.

2016 Scholars:

Lagnajit (Lucky) Pattanaik, a junior honors student in chemical engineering, is investigating the catalytic conversion of biomass with Nicholas Brunelli (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering). Lucky’s current project on the conversion of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural was recognized with a second place finish in the 2016 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. In addition, his previous work with John Lannutti (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) researching the mechanical integrity of electrospun nanofibers was published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. Lucky volunteers with Wonders of Our World STEM outreach, Bharatiya Temple, and the Engineering Hometown Ambassador program. After obtaining a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, he plans a career as a university professor improving heterogeneous catalytic methods for sustainable biomass conversion.

Ross Vasko, a junior honors student in computer science and engineering, is conducting research on flow field visualization with Rephael Wenger (Department of Computer Science & Engineering). His work with Wenger and Han-Wei Shen (Department of Computer Science & Engineering) has been accepted for presentation at this summer’s EuroVis conference in the Netherlands. In addition, Ross spent the summer of 2015 conducting research with Franz Quint at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences through the DAAD RISE program. Their work on real-time depth estimation of plenoptic cameras was published in Advances in Visual Computing. Ross has received the Shurtz Award for excellence in first-year mathematics, the College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Scholarship, and the Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Research Award. After receiving a Ph.D. in computer science, he plans to teach and conduct research on geometric algorithms as a professor.

2016 Honorable Mentions:

Maggie Grau, a junior honors student in biomedical sciences, conducts microbial pathogenesis research with Samantha King (College of Medicine; Nationwide Children’s Hospital). Their current work studies the adherence of oral streptococci both in relation to endocarditis and in the oral cavity. Maggie is the recipient of a 2014 SOLAR Research Award and an OSU Research Scholar Award, and her presentation at the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Forum won second place for undergraduate posters. She is also active as a Peer Research Contact, Biomedical Sciences peer mentor, and a Eucharistic minister at a local hospital. Maggie plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in microbiology and pursue a career as a physician scientist and pediatric infectious disease specialist.

Kaeli Hughes, a junior honors student in engineering physics, researches ultra-high energy neutrinos through a radio signature in Antarctic ice with Amy Connolly (Department of Physics). Connolly was herself a Goldwater Scholar, making them Ohio State’s first faculty-student research pair to both be recognized by the Goldwater program. As part of the international ANITA collaboration, Kaeli works on automated monitoring tools for neutrino simulations. She has been awarded a Physics Summer Research Scholarship, the Physics Smith Sophomore Award, and the Physics Helen Cowan Book Award; she is also a recipient of the Valentino Scholarship. A member of the Arts Scholars Program, she is also active in Buckeyethon and Project Impact and serves as the undergraduate chair of the Society for Women in Physics. Kaeli plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics and a research career in nanoscience or biophysics with applications for cancer detection.

A complete list of Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions, arranged by state of residence, can be found on the Goldwater website.

Applications for OSU’s Goldwater nomination will be due in mid-November 2016. Prospective applicants should contact the Undergraduate Fellowship Office (http://fellowships.osu.edu) and plan to attend an info session in early fall semester.