HPU Students Receive Goldwater Honorable Mentions for Scientific Research

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 24, 2017 – High Point University students Rebecca Ulrich and Thomas Boudreaux received honorable mentions for the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship competition.

The Goldwater Scholarship, established in 1986 as a living memorial for Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, serves as the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Applicants must be sophomores or juniors who demonstrate exceptional academics and have clear plans to pursue careers in STEM research. This year, 1,286 students from 470 institutions were nominated, 240 scholarships were presented and 307 students received honorable mentions.

Ulrich is a junior from Troutman majoring in biochemistry. She conducts research with Dr. Meghan Blackledge, assistant professor of chemistry, on intercellular communication in E. coli and how bacteria understand and respond to their environment. Antibiotic treatment often wipes out E. coli and other necessary bacteria found in the gut, which increases the susceptibility to infections. By understanding the chemical compounds bacteria use to relay messages, new therapeutics can be designed to preserve the good bacteria during times of antibiotic treatment.

Boudreaux is a sophomore from Burke, Virginia, double majoring in physics and math and conducting research with Dr. Brad Barlow, assistant professor of astrophysics at HPU. They have focused their studies on the pulsations of stars, which allows astronomers to probe the internal structure of stars in ways that would otherwise not be possible. Boudreaux used data from NASA’s GALEX Mission to conduct a survey of all known hot subdwarf stars – the first survey of its kind conducted with GALEX data.

“My ability to be competitive for the Goldwater is in large part thanks to the incredible dedication of the faculty here at HPU,” says Boudreaux. “I see this accomplishment as highlighting the opportunities which I have been afforded; be it through the hours spent working with Dr. Barlow or the incredible amount of effort Dr. (Meredith) Malburne-Wade put in to help me get my application ready, the faculty here have gone above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of them.”

“As the premier scholarship in the sciences, the Goldwater recognizes exceptional talent and dedication,” says Dr. Meredith Malburne-Wade, director of the Office of Fellowships and Awards. “Rebecca and Thomas exemplify that talent and dedication. While they conduct vastly different research, they truly demonstrate what it means to be a student of the sciences here at High Point University. We could not be prouder of them, and I count myself among many here at HPU and beyond who cannot wait to see what comes next in their careers as students, as scientists, and as researchers.”

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