2010 Recipients: Top Scholarships and Fellowships
2010 Goldwater Scholar
Katy Benson, from Littleton, has worked in the biochemistry laboratory of University Distinguished Professor Karolin Luger since March 2009, studying nucleosome thermodynamics. Benson is an Honors Program participant, and the second author on a paper describing a novel and surprising role for the histone variant H2A.Z in modulating chromatin structure, which will be submitted for publication later this year.
After graduation, Benson plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry. Her professional aspirations are a career in academia and research.
Positive attitude, makes science look cool
"Without question, Katy is an outstanding young scientist," Luger said in her recommendation. "However, perhaps her 'best' feature, and the one that will make her succeed in life even in the face of adversity, is her positive attitude. Katy has tremendous potential for a career in the biological/quantitative sciences. She will be a terrific role model for other young women who might think science is 'uncool.' Katy makes science look cool."
Melanie Schow/Jennifer Sneden receive Honorable Mention
Schow, from Monument, works in the lab of Stuart Tobet, researching vascular development at the top of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Sneden, from Centennial, works in the lab of Dr. Randall Basaraba studying basic pathogenesis of human tuberculosis in animal models and protein antigens that may prove beneficial in the diagnosis and prevention of tuberculosis.
2010 NSF-GRFP Fellowship
Matt Kortus, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major from Loveland, works in Professor Olve Peersen's laboratory performing structural and biochemical characterization of viral polymerase enzymes.
Kortus recently took second place in the poster competition at the regional Rocky Mountain Virology meeting, beating out 19 graduate and post-doctoral students in a competition where the judges did not realize he was an undergraduate. Last year he was also awarded Highest Honors at CSU's Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase.
Active Student Leader and Scholar
Kortus is the president of Students as Leaders in Science and the Biochemistry Club, vice president of the College of Natural Sciences Ambassadors and a former member of the CSU chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.
Kortus also has worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant for general microbiology and has tutored students in biochemistry, organic chemistry, cell biology, and human physiology.
Kortus will use the first year of funding to finish his bachelor's and master's dual degree in biochemistry at CSU next year before pursuing his doctoral degree.
Honorable mention to Nancy Tao
NSF also awarded an honorable mention to Nancy Tao, a chemistry and music double major from Fort Collins. Tao works in the chemistry lab of John Wood and recently held a summer internship in the Department of Process Research at Merck Research Laboratories. In addition to playing the violin, she founded the Colorado Asian Chamber Ensemble, a 20-piece orchestra designed to preserve, arrange and perform Chinese folk melodies.
2010 Udall Scholar
Jeremy Dertien, a fish, wildlife and conservation biology major, is from Austin, Texas. He conducted volunteer research on the use and preservation of native plants at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. He also worked as an intern with The Nature Conservancy at the Phantom Canyon Preserve in remote northern Colorado.
As a Texas Master Naturalist, he has volunteered his time assisting with control of invasive plant species, conducting bird surveys, and presenting information on habitat conservation and creation to K-12 students. He is currently studying abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand. After graduation, Dertien plans a career in public policy impacting international habitat protection issues.
Honorable Mention goes to Bill Tiedje
Bill Tiedje of Newton, Iowa, received a Udall Honorable Mention. He is an agricultural economics and natural resources management double major at CSU.
Tiedje is the president of the Society for Conservation Biology, and works with CSU Assistant Professor Joshua Goldstein in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources to help ranchers in northern Colorado find conservation-related revenue streams to support their livelihoods and allow them to stay financially viable. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school before working as conservation professional.