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Three UGA students receive Goldwater Scholarships

Goldwater Lauren Wesley Dennison-v
Lauren Wesley Dennison

Athens, Ga. – Three University of Georgia Honors students—Lauren Dennison, Erin Hollander and Karishma Sriram—have received 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The UGA students are among a group of 260 recipients of the one- and two-year scholarships that recognize exceptional sophomores and juniors. The scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship nearly every year for the past 20 years, and the 2015 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 49.

“UGA students continue to excel-year after year-in competitions for prized national academic scholarships,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “This continuing success is a testament not only to the outstanding academic quality of our students but also to the exceptional strength of our faculty who teach and mentor them. I am delighted for Lauren, Erin and Karishma, and I look forward to watching their very bright futures unfold.”

The students, all of whom are enrolled in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, plan to earn doctoral degrees related to biomedical research. In addition, all three students are members of UGA’s Honors Program and are recipients of UGA’s foremost undergraduate scholarship, the Foundation Fellowship.

Dennison, a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, is pursuing a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology, and genetics. She aims to earn a Ph.D. in cancer biology to explore the pathology of leukemia and the mechanisms that lead to drug resistance. She conducts research through UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities in the lab of professor Stephen Hajduk and spent last summer interning at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. Her research has resulted in a paper that she has submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and she has presented her findings at a national conference.

Dennison is a member of UGA’s Palladia Honor Society, a UGA Honors Ambassador and is a member of UGA HEROs, a student organization dedicated to supporting children with HIV/AIDS in Georgia.

Hollander, a sophomore from Athens, is pursuing a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology, and genetics. She is a current Ramsey Honors Scholar and was recently named a 2015 Mid-Term Foundation Fellow. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering with the goal of conducting research into treatments for neurological disorders using gene therapy techniques.

She has conducted research through CURO in the lab of Distinguished Research Professor Michael Terns. Through UGA’s Young Scholars Program, she has conducted research in the lab of Steven Stice, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center, as well as with professor Wayne Parrott. She also conducted research as an intern at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Lübeck in Germany through the DAAD RISE scholarship program. She presented her research findings at the 2015 CURO Symposium and also is a member of the Roosevelt Institute at UGA, a student-run policy think tank.

Sriram, a junior from Athens, is pursuing a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and plans to enroll in a combined M.D./ Ph.D. degree program and pursue research into the use of stem cells in healing bone injuries and other tissue damage. She has conducted research through CURO in Stice’s lab. She also has worked in the lab of GRA Eminent Scholar of Molecular Cell Biology Stephen Dalton through UGA’s Young Dawgs program. Under the mentorship of professor Bryan McCullick, she conducted policy research through the Roosevelt Institute Scholars Class on effective ways to address lack of physical education in high schools.

She tutors local schoolchildren through UGA MATHCOUNTS, is an Arch Society member and has studied abroad in Morocco, Bolivia, Bali and at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

In addition to UGA’s three Goldwater recipients, Kip Lacy, who is pursing a double major in ecology in the Odum School of Ecology and biology in the Franklin College, received an honorable mention. Lacy intends to earn a doctorate in evolution and ecology with the ultimate goal of conducting research and teaching at a university.

“I am very thrilled for all of these students,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program. “They are dedicated researchers and wonderful people. It is a pleasure to work with them, and I know that this investment in their futures is well advised and well deserved.”

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The scholarship program honoring U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed 7,428 scholarships worth approximately $48 million.