Two outstanding NDSU students have been selected to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Juniors Bridget Eklund and Cody Ritt are among the 2015 Goldwater Scholars selected from a field of 1,206 science, technology, engineering and mathematics students who were nominated from across the nation.
"Both Bridget and Cody already have had excellent research experiences, including presentations at conferences and publications," explained Scott Wood, NDSU dean of science and mathematics. "They have excellent GPAs, are majoring in a STEM field, have participated in important activities outside the classroom and plan to obtain doctorates in an eligible STEM discipline.
Eklund, who is a microbiology major from Scandia, Minnesota, is currently working in the laboratory of Nathan Fisher, assistant professor of veterinary and microbiological sciences. She is using cockroaches to study a bacterium that can cause a potentially deadly disease called tularemia.
"It is a great honor to be recognized as a Goldwater scholar, and it is a testament to the priorities the NDSU microbiology department places on preparing its students to be competitive at this prestigious level," Eklund said. "The faculty and staff I have had the pleasure of working with have provided me with numerous opportunities to succeed both through academics and research experiences."
Eklund plans to earn a doctorate in microbiology, then conduct research in pathogenic bacteria and infectious disease and teach at the university level.
Ritt, who graduated from Wayzata, Minnesota, High School, is majoring in civil and environmental engineering. His primary research is water treatment, where he has taken a potentially revolutionary product for phosphorus removal and made it practical for removing phosphate from lakes and wastewater. His adviser is Achintya Bezbaruah, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.
"The feeling of being recognized with this reputable award for the strenuous work I have put in to help progress the field of environmental engineering is indescribable,” Ritt said. "The NDSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering always strives for excellence, and I can think of no better way to give back to the faculty for their effort in developing me as a student and researcher than to represent the department in such a manner."
Ritt plans to earn a doctorate in environmental engineering. His goals are to develop desalination research as he teaches in a university setting.
Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program in 1986 to honor Goldwater, who served as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years as a U.S. senator.
The program's one- and two-year scholarships cover tuition, fees, books and living expenses up to $7,500 per year.
The foundation's goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue research careers in the fields.
Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has presented more than 7,400 scholarships worth approximately $48 million.
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