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Ecology students awarded Goldwater Scholarships

Apr. 2, 2012



Writer: Joëlle Walls, jpwalls@uga.edu

Contact: David S. Williams, dwilliam@uga.edu


Four undergraduate students at the University of Georgia have been named 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. They are among a group of 282 recipients of the one- and two-year scholarships that recognize exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences.

The UGA recipients are:

  • Victoria DeLeo, a sophomore from Davie, Fla., who is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in biotechnology and genetics;
  • Marianne Ligon, a sophomore from Clemson, S.C., who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cellular biology;
  • Theresa Stratmann, a junior from Irmo, S.C., who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ecology; and
  • Waring “Buck” Trible III, a junior from Fredericksburg, Va., who is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in ecology and entomology.

“The continued success of UGA students in the Goldwater and other national academic scholarship competitions is further evidence of the overall quality of the student body, the commitment of the faculty to the intellectual development of those students and the very good work of the Honors Program in preparing applicants,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams.

“I am very proud of Victoria, Marianne, Theresa and Buck, and I am confident they will represent the institution well as they pursue their studies in these critically important areas.”

UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship almost every year since the mid-1990s. The 2012 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 43.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation provides a maximum award of $7,500 per year for university expenses such as tuition, fees, books and room and board.  Congress created the scholarship program in 1986 to honor the late U.S. senator.

“I am very pleased for these truly wonderful students,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “The fact that UGA is one of only four institutions in the nation with the maximum number of four Goldwater recipients this year underscores their individual and collective achievements.”

DeLeo, also a UGA Ramsey Honors Scholar, has been conducting cereal crop genomic analysis research under the guidance of crop and social sciences professor Katrien Devos. She presented her work at the undergraduate research symposiums of UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, or CURO, and UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences last spring.

Last summer, DeLeo was a research intern at Kansas State University through a grant supported by the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program. Her future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. in plant genetics and working in research and development for a biotechnology company.

Ligon, who was recently awarded a UGA Foundation Fellowship, has participated in RNA immunology research in Rebecca and Michael Terns’ biochemistry and molecular biology laboratory at UGA as a CURO Honors Scholar and CURO summer fellow. She completed a 2011 public health service-learning trip to Nicaragua and plans a similar one to India in May.

Ligon’s community service involvement has included leading alternative spring break trips to New Orleans and Charleston through UGA’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity and serving as a mentor and teacher for local middle school children through the MATHCOUNTS program.

She would like to become a physician scientist in immunology and infectious diseases.

Stratmann, a member of UGA’s Honors Program and a 2011 CURO summer fellow, has experienced different phases of the research process in conservation biology and mathematics, her career field of choice. She currently is working on her own inquiry developing a species distribution model and related location and surveying techniques for the federally threatened bog turtle. Her research mentor is UGA vertebrate ecologist John Maerz.

Stratmann also has participated in educational outreach efforts as a wildlife technician for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and as a volunteer with UGA’s Game Day Recycling Initiative. As co-president of UGA’s Herpetological Society, she has organized and led community events to raise awareness about reptiles and amphibians.

Trible, also a UGA Foundation Fellow, has been preparing for a career in academia focused on population genetics and biology through his UGA research activities.  He has been studying the behavior of invasive South American fire ants found in Georgia with entomology professor Kenneth Ross. As an Honors International Scholar, he also has traveled to Costa Rica, carrying out his own self-designed project on the interactions between fire ants and coffee farms.

Trible has been involved with conservation education and outreach campus organizations such as the Ecology Club, Students for Environmental Action and Game Day Recycling. He also created a science education blog while in Costa Rica to document his research as well as provide information about biology.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, see http://www.act.org/goldwater.

For more information on UGA’s Honors Program, see http://honors.uga.edu.

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