Eastern’s First Goldwater Scholar

Jacob Dayton pointing to world mapJacob Dayton, an Honors student majoring in Biology, has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for undergraduates in STEM fields who intend to pursue a Ph.D. and a research career. As stated on its website, the mission of the Goldwater Scholarship Program is 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.” They are seeking students with the “potential for a significant future contribution to research in his/her chosen field.” Jacob intends to pursue a PhD in Molecular Biology, with eventual plans to conduct research in molecular and evolutionary genomics and teach at the university level.

This year 1280 students from 455 institutions were nominated for a Goldwater scholarship, and 211 were named Goldwater Scholars. According to the Goldwater Foundation about this year’s competition, “We clearly had to choose the best from among the best.” Jacob is the only student at a Connecticut institution to receive a Goldwater in 2018, and is the first Eastern student to receive the competitive scholarship. His application included the research essay “Conservation implications of the temporal changes in genetic diversity (1870s-2016) for the Endangered northwestern Atlantic population of Roseate Terms (Sterna dougallii).”

Jacob was also recently accepted into an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the Jackson Laboratory for this summer. Other accomplishments while at Eastern include:

  • Conducting ongoing research with Dr. Patty Szczys to study historic genetic diversity in Roseate Terns
  • Collaborating with scientists from France, Poland, and the Ukraine on the Whiskered Tern Population Genetic Structure study
  • Being listed as first author on an article in the peer-reviewed journal Waterbirds while a sophomore (with plans to submit articles to Conservation Genetics this month and to Ecology and Evolution next spring)
  • Presenting at the international Annual Meeting of the Waterbird Society, the Northeast Region-1 TriBeta Conference, and Eastern’s CREATE
  • Serving as a Research Lab Peer Mentor and as a Genetics Course Teaching
  • Participating in census counts of a Massachusetts Tern breeding colony and bird-band resightings in a staging-site metapopulation project
  • Awards: The President’s Award for Research, the Marc Freeman Scholarship (supporting a summer science research project), the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Activity Summer Research Fellowship, the Jean H. Thoresen AAUP Scholarship, and the Waterbird Society Travel Award
  • Serving as President and Secretary of Eastern’s Biology Club
  • Volunteering as a tutor at Windham Middle School

Read more about Jacob’s award.

Sierrra Colon wins Gilman scholarship for South Africa internship

Colon 200x200
Political science major Sierra Colon is one of 250 undergraduate students from across the United States selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Colon will use the scholarship in the summer of 2016 to intern with the Surplus People Project (SPP), a nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Eric Cerino Wins NSF Fellowship

Eric Cerino photoEric Cerino, a senior majoring in psychology, has been named the recipient of a highly competitive Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellowship from the National Science Foundation. The $30,000 stipend will cover Cerino’s tuition and support direct research costs during the first 12 months of his Ph.D. program at Oregon State University’s (OSU) LIFE* in an Aging Society program (*Linking Individuals, Families, and Environments).

The National Science Foundation fellowship allows students to collaborate across disciplines in a multidisciplinary research traineeship. Only five students from across the nation get into the OSU program. Students pick a primary core (according to their Ph.D program) and a supplementary core. Cerino’s primary core will be Psychosocial, and his supplementary core will be Gerontechnology, giving him the opportunity to collaborate with engineering professors and students.

Cerino presented his research project, “Investigating Subjective Age, Level of Activity and Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults,” at the 18th Annual Posters on the Hill Conference in Washington, D.C., on April 29.  The goal of Cerino’s research was to see if depression levels among senior citizens were impacted by how young a person feels and how active he or she is in society. Cerino was mentored by Eastern Psychology Professor Jennifer Leszczynski.

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Ricky Magner Earns Goldwater Honorable Mention

Photo of Ricky MagnerRicky Magner, a junior at Eastern majoring in mathematics, recently received an Honorable Mention from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.  The Goldwater Scholarship Program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering, and it recognizes undergraduates who demonstrate the potential to make a significant research contribution in their future careers.  Magner is the first Eastern student to be recognized by Goldwater.

Magner has conducted research in number theory under the mentorship of Dr. Mizan Khan, with whom he has co-authored two publications.  He presented his research at two research conferences in 2013.  He has completed multiple graduate-level courses in mathematics and served as a teaching assistant for an upper-division course on Number Theory.  In addition, he has independently written computer programs to aid his research. Magner was the first recipient of Eastern’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

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