Three USF Students Earn Prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

The awards mark an unprecedented achievement for USF and the only Goldwaters awarded this year in Florida's public universities.

TAMPA, Fla. (March 26, 2014) – An impressive three USF students have just been named Goldwater Scholars for 2014, chosen out of more than 1,000 students nominated through a highly selective process. The award, given to just 283 students nationwide, is the most prestigious undergraduate award for science research and provides $7,500 for educational expenses and research support.

USF’s 2014 Goldwater Scholars are:

· Michael Calzadilla of Valrico, a junior in the USF Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences. Calzadilla is double majoring in physics and mathematics and intends to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He is preparing to submit his first journal publication on active galactic nuclei and black holes. During the next few months he will focus on an interdisciplinary project using radio antennas to observe the sun and Milky Way, collaborating with students from physics, electrical engineering and computer science. Michael is also starting a student physics club on campus. His campus mentors for the Goldwater were faculty members Philip Bishop and Doug Gobeille.

Michael Calzaidilla

· Kaitlin Deutsch of Gainesville, a junior in the Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in biology and environmental science and policy. Deutsch, an undergraduate research assistant in amphibian ecology, is studying the behavioral resistance of oak toads to the devastating chytrid fungus. Her work has already been published in academic journals, including a co-authored manuscript in the prestigious Nature. Deutsch intends to pursue a Ph.D. in entomology and/or ornithology and hopes to build a career in conservation biology. She is currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. Her campus mentors for the Goldwater were Associate Professor Jason Rohr and Arcadii Grinshpan, director of USF’s Center for Industrial & Interdisciplinary Mathematics.

· Fiona Kearns, from Palm Bay, a junior in the Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences majoring in chemistry. Kearns’ recent research project on computational chemistry research examines the relationship between catalase and nitric oxide. She is also studying the chemical defense mechanism of Antarctic sea sponges. Last summer she won first place for a presentation at USF’s National Science Foundation Research Day. Kearns hopes to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and conduct research in drug discovery, energy conservation or medical imaging technology. Her campus mentors for the Goldwater were Assistant Professor Henry Lee Woodcock, Professor Bill Baker and Gobeille. 

Kaitlin Deutsch

“The scholarly accomplishments of Michael, Kaitlin and Fiona give the entire USF community much to be proud of,” said USF Provost Ralph Wilcox. “Congratulations to these talented and innovative students and to the professors and mentors who are dedicated to supporting them. We know their discoveries and insights will have a major impact on the world, and we look forward to many more successes to come.”

USF’s three are the only Goldwater Scholarships awarded this year in Florida's state university system.

The announcement comes just a week before USF will host a visit with Frank Gilmore, president of the Goldwater Foundation. Gilmore will address faculty and student groups on Monday, March 31, as part of a student appreciation luncheon.

In addition to this year’s three Goldwater Scholars, five others from USF have been awarded in the last four years. They have gone on to earn other nationally competitive awards and study at internationally prominent institutions as they work on research projects.

Fiona Kearns

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30years of service in the U.S.Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.