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Pair of Ursinus Students Earn Goldwater Scholarships

Shannon Kiss ’20 and Madison Moses ’20 were chosen for the honor by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. According to the foundation’s website, it seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

Kiss and Moses are among 496 Goldwater scholars from across the country for 2019-20. They were chosen from 1,223 students who were nominated by 443 academic institutions, and many of the scholars have already published their research in leading journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

“The Goldwater Scholarship is significant to me because it recognizes the work that I am doing is important and encourages me to continue it,” says Moses, an environmental studies major at Ursinus with minors in biology, food studies and dance. She has been conducting an independent research study under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Biology Denise Finney for the past year.

“The goal of my work is to help farmers optimize their management practices so that they achieve high yields without degrading the environment,” she says. “It’s easy to become busy and forget that the research you are doing has meaning and is needed in the space outside of the Ursinus bubble. Being nationally recognized has reminded me that I am working toward a goal that is bigger than Ursinus. It has given me the motivation I need—especially at the end of the spring semester—to continue to work hard in and out of the lab.”

Kiss is a neuroscience and psychology double major with a minor in biology. She is currently working in Associate Professor of Psychology Joel Bish’s neuroscience lab investigating the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries, specifically concussions.

“I am extremely honored to be named as a 2019 Goldwater scholar,” Kiss says. “Receiving this award and having my research efforts acknowledged at such a prestigious level only encourages me to continue my research pursuits in both the near and far future. Additionally, I believe it is important to be recognized among such a select group of students because it is a testament to the importance of the research we conduct here at Ursinus, even though we are at an undergraduate level.”

She recently presented at the 13th World Congress on Brain Injury in Toronto. Kiss is also a co-author on a manuscript that she will submit for review and publishing by the end of this semester, and she will continue her work with Bish as a Summer Fellow. She is also working on a study about perceptions of health and social identities with Assistant Professor of Psychology Vanessa Volpe. 

Scholarships of up to $7,500 a year are provided to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board. This year, as a result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP), the number of Goldwater scholarships awarded this year was increased.

Over its 30-year history, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. –By Ed Moorhouse