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26th Consecutive Year USC Students Earn Goldwater Scholarship


For the twenty-sixth consecutive year, USC students have been named Goldwater Scholars. A total of 53 Goldwater Scholarships have been won by USC students since 1990, with 52 of those Goldwater Scholars members of the South Carolina Honors College.

Juniors Casey Brayton and Victor Madormo have been named 2018 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, while Aspasia Amiridis and Noemi Glaeser have been named Honorable Mentions. Nationally, 211 Goldwater Scholars and 281 Honorable Mentions were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,280 mathematics, science, and engineering students, nominated by the faculties of 455 colleges and universities nationwide. 

The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded nationally to sophomores and juniors pursuing bachelors’ degrees in natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering and who intend to pursue a career in research and/or college-level teaching. The one or two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Each university may only nominate four students for this award.

Brayton is a member of the South Carolina Honors College, where she is the Solomon Blatt Carolina Scholar.  She is double majoring in Marine Science and Mathematics with a minor in Geography.  A 2017 NOAA Hollings Scholar and 2017 Udall Scholar, Brayton is also a Lieber Scholar, a Palmetto Fellow, and the 2017 Traci J. Heincelman awardee at USC.   She has pursued research in multiple locations: at USC with Dr. Alexander Yankovsky, at Scripps via an REU last summer, and this coming summer with NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab.  On campus, she is founder and president of Women in Geosciences, Co-Chair and Chair-Elect of the Marine Technology Society, Vice President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and a member of Students Engaged in Aquatic Sciences (SEAS).  Brayton plans to attend graduate school for a PhD in Physical Oceanography and pursue a career in both research and public policy in a NOAA research lab.

Madormo is a Biomedical Engineering major with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. A member of the South Carolina Honors College, he has also received the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Excellence award and been on the President’s Honor List for 5 semesters. Madormo has conducted extensive research on a wide range of research projects in engineering modeling, cancer biology, and neurogenesis. Last summer, he participated in an NSF REU at North Carolina A&T State University, where he built a computational model of a knee after an ACL surgery, and placed first in the NSF EMCoR Research Presentations. Madormo has also worked as an engineer for a startup pharmaceutical/biotechnology company designing peptides for clinical applications. Outside the classroom, he volunteers with organizations such as Hands on Prosthetic Engineering, Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, and Engineers Without Borders.  Madormo intends to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering, conduct research, and teach at a University level.

Amiridis is a member of the South Carolina Honors College where she is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She has been involved in research at three different labs on projects related to biochemistry: at the USC School of Medicine, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and here at USC in the Hashemi lab.  Her research has ranged from studying HPV, Alzheimer’s Disease, and trace metal analysis via detection with carbon-fiber microelectrodes, each with publications attached. Outside of research, Amiridis is dedicated to LGBT rights groups in Columbia, including being a member of IRIS (Individuals Respecting Identities and Sexualities) and the TSA (Trans Student Alliance) at USC, and volunteering with the Harriet Hancock Center.  She plans to obtain a PhD in biochemistry and direct research in bioengineering and drug delivery.

Glaeser is a member of the South Carolina Honors College, where she is a Mathematics and Computer Science major with a minor in Music and Flute Performance. A founding member of the Association for Women in Mathematics as well as treasurer of Pi Mu Epsilon, she is also a McNair and Lieber Scholar. She has conducted research in the Department of Computer Science, funded through the department as well as a Magellan grant. She currently conducts research in information and graph theory in the Department of Mathematics, and will be interning in Fermilab’s computing division this summer.  Glaser is interested in a career in academia or in the cybersecurity/cryptography industry.

The University’s Goldwater Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Douglas Meade (Mathematics) and Dr. Scott Goode (Chemistry), includes faculty members Dr. Melissa Moss (Chemical and Biomedical Engineering), Dr. Susan Alexander (South Carolina Honors College), Dr. Ralf Gothe (Physics and Astronomy), Dr. Zhengqing Fu (Biological Sciences), and Dr. David Barbeau (Earth and Ocean Sciences).  The committee worked closely with all University nominees in preparing their applications. The Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs ( further assisted the Goldwater applicants.