2019 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees
Bioengineering student Erica Wagner, E’20, and Chemical Engineering student Gavin Winter, E’20, were two of four students nominated for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship by Northeastern University. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based award for outstanding students in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering who are interested in pursuing a career in research. The scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who showed a keen interest in science and technology during his 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
Hometown: Johnstown, NY
Technologies and treatments for patients with debilitating musculoskeletal diseases have seen rapid advances in recent years, but are still plagued by complications in drug delivery which can reduce effectiveness or cause unintended effects. Erica Wagner’s goal is to engineer biomaterials for targeted drug delivery systems that can sustain long-lasting effects and minimize off-target activity. Erica, a member of the Honors Program, has undertaken several projects related to the development of such biomaterials in the Molecular Bioelectrostatics & Drug Delivery Lab of Professor Ambika Bajpayee. With the support of an Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor Award, Erica extended the lab’s research on osteoarthritic tissue degeneration from cartilage to the less commonly studied intervertebral disc tissue. On co-op at Visterra Inc., Erica approached research from the perspective of a biotechnology company and worked on glomerulonephritis, the inflammation of the membrane tissue in the kidney which leads to kidney failure. This experience helped confirm her aspiration to work in industry after earning her PhD in bioengineering, continuing her drive for drug development, most likely in coordination with an academic lab.
Major: Chemical Engineering, minors in Mathematics and Materials Science and Engineering
Hometown: San Diego, CA
University Scholar and Honors student Gavin Winter wants to design the next generation of materials for extreme environments. Whether for spaceflight as humanity becomes an interplanetary species or for condensed-matter quantum computing as we enter the next phase of the big data revolution, the demand will only keep rising for materials that can withstand environments unlike any that naturally occur on earth. Gavin has amassed a wide portfolio of materials-related research spanning academic, government, and industrial settings, beginning with a high-school internship at the Scripps Research Institute and continuing in the lab of Professor Marilyn Minus, through co-ops at 24M technologies and Desktop Metal, and including a stint at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He earned an Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor Award to support his work on crystallization kinetics of polymer growth at interfaces in the Minus Lab. The applications of the materials he has researched range from ultra-efficient energy storage to nuclear fusion experiments with the world’s highest-energy laser. Gavin plans to earn a PhD in materials science and to continue engineering materials for extreme conditions in research lab that serves academic, industrial, and governmental applications.