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Three OU Students Receive Goldwater Honors

Three OU Students Receive Goldwater Honors

University of Oklahoma honors students Nina Cassidy, Hannah Day and Alex Hamilton have been named 2019 Goldwater Scholars.  The prestigious scholarships are awarded on the basis of potential and intent to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Cassidy, a National Merit Scholar junior pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering, is from Argyle, Texas. She plans to earn a doctorate in biomedical engineering and conduct research focused on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Previous research activities include working in the Kelly lab at Trinity College, Dublin, where she conducted bioengineering research concerning the regeneration of bone and cartilage. This research led to a co-authored paper that has been submitted for review. She also has worked in OU’s Translational Regenerative Medicine Lab with Drs. Michael Detamore and Jakob Townsend, as well as the UT Southwestern Medical Center with Dr. Michael Dellinger. Her work with Dr. Dellinger, which focused on diseases of the lymphatic system, resulted in an oral presentation of their findings.

Cassidy is a member of the OU Honors College and has a perfect 4.0 GPA.  She has served as the student chapter officer of the Biomedical Engineering Society and as a member of the Catholic Student Association’s senior leadership team. In 2018, she was recognized as the Most Outstanding Researcher with the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering and was named a National AP Scholar in 2016. In 2016 she also was the recipient of the Knights of Columbus Scholarship.

Day, a National Merit Scholar majoring in both physics and math, is from Topeka, Kansas. She is a member of the Honors College and has a 3.98 GPA. In 2017, she was awarded the Physics Merit Scholarship Award and earned a Mathematics Scholarship the following year. In 2018, she also was recognized as the Outstanding Sophomore in Physics. In addition to her academic achievements, Day is a member of the Math Club and Physics Club, and enjoys practicing her language skills as a member of the French Club. She is also a member of OU’s Concert Band and is active in Chi Alpha Student Ministries.

Day intends to earn a doctorate in theoretical physics and to study physics beyond the Standard Model (made up of ideas concerning quantum mechanics, relativity and Einstein’s gravity), especially as it relates to gravity. Her research activities have included working in Kimball Milton’s lab, which was devoted to the study of properties of the stress tensor. She also worked with Ralph Lehnert at Indiana University, exploring the motion of light and developing methods to measure the effects of the Lorentz violation upon light.

Hamilton, a junior who hails from Muskego, Wisconsin, also is a National Merit Scholar. He is a member of the Honors College and has a 3.97 GPA. His academic plan includes earning a doctorate in biomedical engineering and conducting research concerning biomaterials and tissue engineering, while also teaching at the university level. Much of his previous research has focused on three different projects in Drs. Detamore’s and Townsend’s lab. There, he modelled sheep trachea to assess the efficacy of surgery, developed ways to bioprint magnetic nanoparticles to improve biomimicry in scaffolds, and is currently working on a project to automate the process of tissue and organ decellularization. While in Portugal last year, Hamilton helped develop techniques for using hydrogels to help generate tendon scaffolds in Manuela Gomes’ lab.

Hamilton is an active member in the Biomedical Engineering Society, has served as a software team member for the IEEE Robotics Team, and has played trumpet in both the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band and the Oklahoma Trumpet Studio. He has been named to the President’s Honors Roll for six of his seven semesters at OU, earned a Boggs Travel Fellowship in 2017, and was named an Honorable Mention in last year’s Goldwater competition.

The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. This year, 1,223 college sophomores and juniors across the country competed for the 496 scholarships.