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COSAM junior named Barry M. Goldwater Scholar

Published: 04/07/2016

By: Lindsay Miles

COSAM junior Natasha Narayanan has been chosen as a 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed to only 252 students nationwide this year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Narayanan is an Auburn University Honors College student who is double majoring in biochemistry and Spanish (College of Liberal Arts). She has conducted two undergraduate research projects, both under the direction of Bradley Merner, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As part of the first project, she worked to incorporate a chemical modification into antisense therapeutics drugs, which may lead to better treatments for genetic diseases. Her second research project relates to medicinal chemistry, which she hopes to apply to the synthesis of a natural product known as haouamine A, a product that has shown selective anticancer activity in human colon carcinoma cells.

"Natasha is an exceptionally talented researcher," said Merner. "She has an uncanny ability to retain information and a desire to make experiments work that cannot be taught. A truly gifted student, Natasha embodies all of the qualities that make for a future leader in science."

Two other Auburn University students were also named Goldwater Scholars, Sara Head and Jennifer Kaczmarek. Both Head and Kaczmarek are chemical engineering majors in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

"We are proud of these extraordinary women, all members of the Honors College, who have each combined academic excellence in the classroom with ingenuity in their research programs,” said Melissa Baumann, director of the Auburn University Honors College and assistant provost for Undergraduate Studies. "We look forward to great things from Natasha, Jennifer and Sara and also recognize the pivotal role played by their faculty mentors in their success."

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses up to a maximum of $7,500 annually for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and housing. In awarding scholarships, the foundation of trustees considers the nominee's field of study and career objectives, along with the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution to the field of science or engineering.

The National Prestigious Scholarship office at Auburn University, located in the Honors College, works closely with students to identify and help them pursue prestigious scholarship national and international awards through information sessions and one-on-one support during the application process.

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