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South Carolina Honors College

Solid Gold

UofSC adds 3 more names to the list of prestigious Goldwater Scholarship winners

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Three University of South Carolina juniors in the College of Arts and Sciences have been named 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. Jeremy LaPointe, Jana Liese and Sarah Beth Pye were chosen from a field of 1,223 mathematics, science and engineering students nationwide and are among 496 Goldwater Scholars selected this year across 443 colleges and universities.

The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to sophomores and juniors pursuing bachelor's degrees in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering who intend to pursue a career in research or college-level teaching. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, fees and books, up to $7,500 per year. 

LaPointe is majoring in experimental psychology with a minor in neuroscience. His research focuses on mitigating the symptoms of HIV-1, using exercise as a way to slow failing cognitive ability in HIV-1 patients. He is a Magellan ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research, a peer educator for the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, founder of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter at South Carolina and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He plans to earn a doctorate in neuroscience and conduct research as a university professor.

“Winning the Goldwater has been a surreal experience,” LaPointe says. “The grant has given me the funding to complete my honors thesis research project and will give me several opportunities for future neuroscience research. This scholarship is a springboard as I look to enter graduate school and pursue a career dedicated to research on memory.”

Liese is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. She has conducted research on bacteriophage genomics and is working to determine the structure of enzymes involved in bacterial energy metabolism. Liese interned at the National Institutes of Health and worked with the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases through the South Carolina Washington Semester Program. She is an Honors College ambassador, student director of the Honors College Mentor Program, a member of the President’s Student Advisory Council and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She plans to earn a medical degree and a doctorate in microbiology and return to NIH to develop therapies for tropical infectious disease prevention.

Pye is a double-major in biochemistry and molecular biology and French. She has been conducting research in the Chruszcz Lab since fall 2016 and received two SURF grants and a Magellan Scholar award. She is a published co-author in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications journal and winner of the poster competition at the Protein Science Annual Symposium. She is the recipient of the Betty R. Fundenberg Undergraduate Biomedical Research Award, the Kyrl Leighton-Faxford de Gravelines Scholarship, and the Carol and John Kososki Scholarship. Pye plans to earn a master’s degree in microbiology and a doctorate in biochemistry to conduct research and teach at the university level.

"Beyond the financial support from the award, it will help me establish myself as a researcher during my college education and will help give me a headstart for the future," Pye says. "As I pursue a career in scientific research, this will be hugely beneficial for my future and will likely help me in my search for graduate schools and labs to work in."

The three winners are students in the South Carolina Honors College. The university’s Goldwater committee and the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs helped them prepare their applications.

This is the 27th consecutive year University of South Carolina students have been named Goldwater Scholars. A total of 56 Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to UofSC students since 1990, 55 of those coming from the South Carolina Honors College. A complete list of this year’s winners is available on the Goldwater Scholar website.

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