Clarkson University continues to be among the nation's leaders in the education of scientific talent with three students being named Goldwater Scholars this past week.
Clarkson School student Ashwin Ajit ‘22, a double major in computer science and mathematics; Isabella (Izzi) Grasso ‘21, a double major in computer science and data science; and Rebecca Meacham ‘21, a chemical engineering major; each were recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in a special press announcement.
“Clarkson students have exactly the entrepreneurial mindset and scientific skill sets that the nation needs right now to address global challenges. These three students are outstanding ambassadors for the Clarkson experience that combines rigorous academics and research with their personal passions,” said Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University. “We are extremely proud of their personal accomplishment and now professional recognition of their work.
Established by Congress in 1986, the Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious award in the United States given to undergraduates studying in natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. It is given to sophomores and juniors who demonstrate outstanding potential. There were 396 scholarships awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Including this year’s scholars, 44 Clarkson University students have received this highly coveted award since the scholarships were first awarded in 1989. This is the 21st consecutive year that at least one Clarkson student has received a Goldwater Scholarship.
Ashwin Ajit is an Honors student double majoring in computer science and mathematics, and a member of the Clarkson School, the University’s early college program. He is from Potsdam, NY. Ajit’s academic achievements are outstanding. In 2018, at the age of 16, Ajit completed an apprenticeship at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Since fall 2018, Ajit has been a researcher in the Terascale All-Sensing Research Studio (TARS) at Clarkson, a lab that has produced two other Goldwater Scholars in the past three years. Through his research at TARS, Ajit has published a first author paper at AIVR 2019, receiving the Best Student Paper Award. He has also produced a second author publication at the same venue and has achieved the remarkable feat of publishing two peer-reviewed publications while still in Clarkson’s early-college program, The Clarkson School. Ajit has been accepted to Cornell University where he plans to attend school in the fall. Ajit’s application was supported by Sean Banerjee, Natasha Banerjee, and Athanasios Iliopoulos (Naval Research Laboratory).
Isabella (Izzi) Grasso transferred to Clarkson University as a sophomore from Southern Maine Community College in the fall of 2018. She is from Portland, ME. Grasso is a junior majoring in data science. Her academic record, along with her research with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, where she independently forecasted toxic algal blooms in coastal Maine, are outstanding. Grasso's research at Bigelow resulted in a first-author publication. Grasso’s work shows scientific creativity and intellectual daring, evident through her interdisciplinary approach to her research and through the collaboration she facilitated between Bigelow and Jeanna Matthews’ computer science laboratory at Clarkson. Aside from academics, Grasso is notably a gender equality advocate for women in STEM and plans to use her platform as a scientist to continue making a difference for women in the field.
Grasso’s application was supported by Nick Record (Bigelow), Jeanna Matthews, and Joe Skufca.
Rebecca Meacham is a junior Honors chemical engineering student at Clarkson from Moira, NY. Last summer, she notably earned an REU appointment in Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research and, as a result, submitted a first-author paper on her work with Dr. Alan Zehnder on dual-crosslinked hydrogels. In addition to her many accomplishments, Meacham was slated to present her current research, conducted with Dr. Devon Shipp, at a symposium organized by the Polymer Division of the ACS at the ACS National Meeting & Expo in March of 2020.
Meacham’s application was supported by Devon Shipp, Kelly Tillman, and Alan Zehnder (Cornell).
Other Clarkson Students Receiving Nominations
Brendan Barrow ’22, a physics major, and Lea Maney ‘21, a biology major were both also nominated by the Clarkson Goldwater Committee.
Brendan Barrow is a sophomore Honors physics student from Ballston Lake, NY whose academic accomplishments easily impressed the committee. Barrow has been conducting research with Dr. Dhara Trivedi since his arrival at Clarkson. In his first year, he was awarded “Most Outstanding Freshman” in his department by the physics faculty. He is the first author on a published review chapter in an American Chemical Society Symposium Series. Barrow was also invited to speak at the Physics Department Colloquium and is scheduled to speak at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the ACS in the fall of 2020.
Barrow’s application was supported by Dhara Trivedi, George Schatz (Northwestern University), and Jessica Nash (Molecular Sciences Software Institute).
Lea Maney is a junior Honors student at Clarkson from New Paltz, NY majoring in biology, and she illustrates independence in her ongoing research and precision in her future goals. She plans to conduct medical research and brings a unique perspective to the field with her ongoing service to our campus and wider community as an EMT, volunteering 150 hours in emergency care per semester. Maney conducted research at the Trudeau Institute as part of the Trudeau Biomedical Scholars Program and has been conducting research in Dr. Kenneth Wallace’s lab throughout her undergraduate time, where she works with and was initially mentored by Margaret Dedloff, a Clarkson 2019 Goldwater Scholar. Her work has resulted in several presentations and two publications.
Maney’s application was supported by Ken Wallace and William Reiley (Trudeau).
Former Clarkson School Student Named Goldwater Scholar
A former student at The Clarkson School has also been named a 2020 Goldwater Scholar.
Morgan McGrath, who attended the Clarkson School in 2018-19 and is currently a sophomore at Fordham University, was one of 396 students nationwide to receive the prestigious award.
During her time at Clarkson, McGrath was actively involved in research in Assistant Biology Professor Susan Bailey’s Evolutionary Biology and Bioinformatics lab, while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She started in the Bailey lab in summer 2018 as part of the Honors program and continued working there through to her graduation from The Clarkson School in spring 2019.
Please contact Karyn Crispo, Associate Director of Scholarship Preparation, with any questions or information regarding The Goldwater Scholarship and other major scholarship and fellowship opportunities. firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-268-6006.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.