Chemistry student named recipient of Goldwater Scholarship
When junior Georgia Sands discovered she was a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, her reaction was to share the news with her faculty mentor, Shannon Biros, associate professor of chemistry. But, patience had to supersede her exuberance.
“I was so excited,” said Sands. “I knew that Dr. Birros was in class for the next 15 minutes, so I waited outside of her class waiting to tell her.”
Sands, a chemistry major, becomes the fourth Grand Valley student since 2019 to receive the competitive Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarship helps support students pursuing careers as research scientists, said Susan Mendoza, director for the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement. Sands plans to pursue a doctorate in organic chemistry.
“The Goldwater Scholarship Program is the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships for undergraduates in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics,” said Mendoza.
Sands has gained valuable experience conducting research under Biros’ supervision and will be presenting at this month’s Student Scholars Day.
Sands said the idea to pursue the Goldwater came last summer. By then, she had finished a year of research under Biros, and the two developed a project that Sands would write about in her Goldwater research proposal.
Her Goldwater proposal is a variation of her research for Student Scholars Day, which examines the effects of organic molecules on lanthanide metals and their luminescence.
“Goldwater scholars, such as Georgia, will be the scientists who will deepen discovery, spur innovation, and lead the scientific and scholarly community in decades to come,” said Mendoza. “Since arriving at GVSU, Georgia found opportunities to actively engage in research and found opportunities to fund her work through the Student Summer Scholars Program, the Kindschi Fellowship in the Sciences, and the GVSU NSF RISE Program,” said Mendoza.
Sands already has another project lined up for this summer.
“I’ll be figuring out where to apply to grad school,” she said. “This project has given me a lot of confidence that I can apply to some good programs. So I’m looking forward to figuring that out.”
Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.