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Sarah Harris Earns Honorable Mention in Barry Goldwater Scholarship Competition

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Posted on Monday, April 16, 2018

Junior biochemistry major and Honors Program scholar Sarah Harris earned Honorable Mention of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for her research with Dr. Patrick Lackey on the molecular-level processes that occur during cell division. She was nominated for the award last month based on her academic excellence and promising undergraduate research.

Fewer than 40% of nominees receive as high level of an award as Honorable Mention.

“I never even imagined that I would take my research to this level,” Harris said. “The fact alone that I've been able to work on this research for so long is something that amazes me, and I'm taken aback by the results that we are getting and will hopefully continue to get.”

For over 30 years, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded thousands of undergraduates pursuing careers in STEM research. To be nominated, each student must be a current sophomore or junior; have at least a 3.0 GPA and be in the top 25% of their class; must have US citizenship/permanent residency; and must have an interest in a career in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering.

Harris was recruited and nominated by 1994 Goldwater scholar Dr. Craig Caylor, associate professor of physics at Westminster. Caylor serves as Westminster’s campus representative and aids nominees throughout the application process. 

“I would like to thank Dr. Lackey, Dr. Boylan, Dr. Caylor and Dr. Smith for all of their amazing help and all of the support that everyone at Westminster, especially the chemistry department, has offered me,” she said.  

Over the four years (2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018) Westminster has nominated students for the award, five out of eight of them have received Honorable Mention.  

Each 4-year college/university can nominate up to four students to be considered for an award. Visit to learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in research before their senior year to see what its all about and learn the ropes,” Harris said.

Written by Megan Simpson