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ISSUE 118 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/15/2005

Scholars announced

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor


Friday, April 15, 2005

Out of the 320 prestigious Goldwater Scholarships awarded in the 2005-2006 school year, three St. Olaf students received a scholarship, which covers up to $7,500 per academic school year. Winners were chosen from a national field of 1,091 applicants based on academic merit.

Lisa Schaus '06, a chemistry and music double major, found out about her scholarship over spring break through a congratulatory e-mail from a professor. She remembers sitting at home, feeling "utter disbelief" at first.

Schaus wrote a research paper on how to make organic chemical reactions “greener,” which means, according to Schaus, to "run in a more environmentally friendly way." This paper was part of her application for the Goldwater Scholarship.

In recent years, Schaus has done lab research involving organometallic chemistry with Professor of Chemistry Gary Miessler. In her research, Schaus tried to "create compounds with two different types of metal atoms." These compounds are similar to the active sites of enzymes and play an important role in metabolism. Most enzymes only contain either tungsten or molybdenum, and Schaus’ work could help answer why the metals are not always interchangeable.

Schaus compared the two metals to green apples and oranges. "Both are sweet and both are tart, but you wouldn’t confuse them."

By making a compound that has both metals, not just two of one kind, differences in bonding can be compared. So far, though her efforts to create a compound with two different metals have not been successful, she has created at least three new compounds.

Schaus intends to pursue her Ph.D. in organic chemistry

William Shyy ’07, a biology major, also found out about his scholarship over spring break.

"It was a surprise and a great honor," Shyy said. "I wasn’t expecting it."

In high school, Shyy worked with genetically modified plants in the Molecular Biology Lab at Iowa State University.

Last summer, he worked

at the University of Southern California studying genetic microsatellites in copepod populations. Microsatellites are simple tandem repeats in DNA that are highly polymorphic between populations of the same species. Shyy used microsatellites to investigate hybrid breakdown and heterosis within copepod populations.

“Microsatellites are great genetic tools because significant differences can be observed in populations,” Shyy said.

This summer, Shyy will work with cancer research at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn., and he intends to pursue an M.D and a Ph.D. in genetics.

Dan Visscher ’06, a mathematics and physics double major, is currently studying abroad in Hungary through the Budapest Semester in Mathematics program. This

summer, he will conduct research at Hope College involving algebra and topology.

Of this year's 320 recipients, 165 are men and 155 are women. Regarding their fields of study, 27 are mathematics majors, 239 are science majors, 45 are engineering majors and nine are computer science-related majors.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established in 1986 by Congress to award college sophomores and juniors. According to the program's website, "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."





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