LAWRENCE — Brandon James DeKosky, a junior in chemical engineering, is one of two winners at KU of the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, regarded as the premier undergraduate awards to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics. Two more KU students received honorable mentions.
DeKosky works with chemical engineers at KU seeking clues to regeneration of tissue and plans a career in biomedical engineering, research and teaching.
Rebecca Marie Getman, a chemistry major, is KU’s other Goldwater scholar. She works with KU researchers on the development of drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and is preparing for a research career in the pharmaceutical industry.
“I join others across the campus today in congratulating Brandon and Rebecca on this outstanding achievement,” said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. “We also are proud that two more KU students earned honorable mentions in this prestigious competition. As young scientists, each has demonstrated not only a desire to improve lives but also a drive to achieve at the highest level academically.”
They are among 278 scholarship winners announced March 30 by the Goldwater Foundation. Goldwater scholarships provide as much as $7,500 for tuition, fees, books and room and board.
Since May 2008, DeKosky has been a member of an interdisciplinary team researching tissue engineering led by co-investigators Michael Detamore, assistant professor, and Stevin Gehrke, professor, both in chemical and petroleum engineering. For spring 2009, DeKosky received a Kansas IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence undergraduate scholarship to continue a tissue engineering project. He is drafting an article for publication based on his work.
Following his freshman year, DeKosky worked in the neurobiology lab of Doug Wright, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology. DeKosky is a National Merit Scholar. He is one of four students to receive a Self Engineering Leadership Fellow Mentor Scholarship at KU. DeKosky has studied abroad through KU’s program with the University of Costa Rica.
Including this year’s winners, 47 KU students have received Goldwater scholarships since they were first awarded in 1989. Congress established the program in 1986 to pay tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
Goldwater scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious postgraduate fellowship programs, including 73 Rhodes scholarships, 102 Marshall scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.
Only sophomore- and junior-level students who were judged to have outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career and faculty recommendations.