For the first time in Gettysburg history, all four nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship were recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Madison Strine ’18, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major and Spanish minor, was awarded the scholarship, and Elizabeth Burton ’18, Breanna Titchen ’18, and Richard Gawel ’18 received honorable mentions.
The competitive scholarship is awarded annually based on academic merit to sophomores and juniors from the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Strine is one of only 240 students across the country to achieve this distinction.
Strine’s path to science research started when she took a research course for first-year students with Biology Profs. Greg Krukonis and Véronique Delesalle. After that year, they invited Strine to join their research lab. Over the past two years, Strine has been working on the ecology and evolution of the phages of the soil bacterium, Bacillus subtilis. In 2016, after completing a research expedition in the Southwest deserts, she presented her research at the Society for the Study of Evolution meetings, the premier conference for scientists in the field of evolutionary biology.
"Maddi’s love of research just shines and she is always challenging herself,” said Delesalle. “That work has led to a study of the role of extracellular bacterial proteases as a defense mechanism against phage attack and this was the basis of her research essay for her Goldwater fellowship. Her success is a testament to the quality of the science students we attract as well as the opportunities Gettysburg College can provide.”
Strine plans to earn a Ph.D. from a joint biochemistry and molecular biology program or a related field to conduct immunochemical and pathogenic research.
“I never thought I would be able to conduct my own scientific research as an undergraduate student, and I certainly never expected to later have that research recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship,” said Strine. “While researching at Gettysburg College has inspired me to attain a Ph.D. in the sciences, receiving a fellowship like this has shown me that my goal is more than achievable. Now going into senior year, I'm excited to continue with my current research project and begin applying to graduate school.”
The Goldwater Scholarship was created to honor Senator Barry Goldwater and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. It is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.