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27th Consecutive Year UofSC Students Earn Goldwater Scholarship


For the twenty-seventh consecutive year, University of South Carolina students have been named Goldwater Scholars. A total of 56 Goldwater Scholarships have been won by USC students since 1990, with 55 of those Goldwater Scholars members of the South Carolina Honors College.

Juniors Jeremy LaPointe, Jana Liese, and Sarah Beth Pye have been named 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.  As the result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP), Mrs. Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees of the Goldwater Board have increased the number of Goldwater scholarships it has awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year to 496 college students from across the United States. “As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the U.S. is developing this talent,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as he explained the new partnership. With the 2019 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 8,628 and a scholarship total to over $68M.

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. Nationally, 496 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,223 mathematics, science, and engineering students, nominated by the faculties of 443 colleges and universities nationwide.  The complete list of scholars may be found at

LaPointe is a member of the South Carolina Honors College, where he majors in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. He is a member of Phi Betta Kappa, the Ultimate Frisbee Club, a Magellan Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), a Peer Educator for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education (SAPE) office, and Founder of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter at USC. He is currently conducting research in Dr. Booze’s lab focused on mitigating the symptoms of HIV-1. His research focuses on exercise as a way to slow the failing cognitive ability in patients infected with HIV-1. Specifically, he measured changes in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus as a result of neurogenesis, or the process of forming new neurons as a result of environmental stimulation. He plans to obtain a PhD in Neuroscience and conduct research as a university professor.

Liese is a junior in the South Carolina Honors College where she majors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an Honors College Ambassador, the Student Director of the Honors College Mentor Program, and a member of the President’s Student Advisory Council. At UofSC, she has conducted research with Dr. Bert Ely on bacteriophage genomics and is currently working with Dr. Maks Chruszcz to determine the structures of enzymes involved in bacterial energy metabolism. Liese is an alumna of the South Carolina Washington Semester Program, where she interned at the National Institutes of Health and worked with the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases to develop vaccines against various Herpes Viruses. She plans to earn a MD/PhD in Microbiology and return to NIH to develop therapies to prevent tropical infectious diseases.

Pye is a junior in the South Carolina Honors College where she is double-majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and French. While at UofSC she has conducted research in the Chruszcz Lab since Fall 2016, received 2 SURF grants, and 1 Magellan Scholar award. She is the second author of a publication published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications journal. She also presented posters at Discover USC in 2017 and 2018 (poster session winner), as well as the Protein Science Annual Symposium, where she won the poster competition. She is a recipient of the Betty R. Fundenberg Undergraduate Biomedical Research Award, the Kyrl Leighton-Faxford de Gravelines Scholarship, and the Carol and John Kososki Scholarship. She plans to obtain a Masters degree in microbiology in France and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the USA to conduct research and teach at the university level.

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

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