CAFSNR Offers Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunities

Exploring career directions, building transferable skills, getting experience before graduate school and contributing to knowledge are a few reasons for taking on a research project while an undergraduate student at NDSU.

While some think of research as something only graduate students pursue, for some undergraduates, the opportunity to collaborate on research projects has opened doors to scholarships, new ideas and new career possibilities.

“I love all things bacteria,” Katie Schmidt, an NDSU Microbiological Sciences undergraduate from Ashley, N.D., says. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to know why things happen.”

Schmidt is one of NDSU’s Goldwater Scholar nominees. The Goldwater Scholarship program is the most prestigious undergraduate research scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in the U.S.

Guided by Peter Bergholz, a former faculty member in the NDSU Department of Microbiological Sciences, and Danielle Condry, an assistant professor in the same department, Schmidt has focused her research on bacteria that cause foodborne disease, specifically E-coli strains found in soil samples from the Red River Valley.

Schmidt also has a specific interest in the human microbiome and its ability to fight off infection. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. and become a medical doctor.

For NDSU Duncan Scholar McKayla Neubauer of Kenmare, N.D., the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate has led to a passion for crop improvement.

An NDSU Crop and Weed Sciences senior, Neubauer’s undergraduate research focused on discovering the differences in biotypes of the forage crop camelina. She hopes to contribute to plant breeding knowledge and molecular plant research by obtaining her master’s degree from NDSU.

“It is such a joy to see a student grow from being a first-year student washing test tubes in a laboratory to presenting research at a scientific meeting before they graduate,” says David Buchanan, CAFSNR associate dean for academic programs. “Involvement in research is a transformational experience that will pay enormous dividends in the student’s life."


David Buchanan, 701-231-7426,

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