GEOLOGY and international affairs double major Chris Kelly ’13 and chemistry major Emily Defnet ’13 have achieved national distinction as recipients of Goldwater Scholarships. Awarded for academic merit, the Goldwater is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering.
Kelly also received a student fellowship at the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass. Last summer, he worked as an EXCEL Scholar with Kira Lawrence, assistant professor of geology, on southwest Pacific climate evolution from the late Miocene period to the present. “The vibrancy of his intellectual curiosity is rare. He is very bright, very curious, and incredibly enthusiastic,” says Lawrence.
During spring semester, Kelly, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in earth science with an emphasis on paleoclimatology, studied environmental conservation and wildlife management in Namibia.
Defnet is collaborating with Steve Mylon, associate professor of chemistry and acting chair of policy studies, and James Ferri, associate professor and head of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to investigate the solution chemistry of stimulus-responsive functionalized gold nanoparticles.
“The opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate has given me valuable experiences that will help me with my goal of earning a Ph.D.,” says Defnet. “As a junior, I have already been able to conduct research and present at a national conference, which are experiences that probably wouldn’t have been possible if I had attended a larger institution.”