Biology major Marissa Maroni has been selected as a Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention. Also, thanks to another prestigious honor – an award from the Amgen Scholars Program – she will spend the summer conducting research at Stanford University.
The Leominster native is the first BSU student to be recognized by the Goldwater Foundation, the most prestigious and competitive undergraduate STEM scholarship in the United States.
“I was extremely excited,” Marissa said about hearing the news.
As to why she decided to apply for such an elite scholarship as the Goldwater, she added: “I have a passion for research and wanted to challenge myself.”
The junior biology major (with a biochemistry minor) was assisted in applying for the scholarship by Assistant Professor Saritha Nellutla of the Department of Chemical Sciences.
As BSU’s Goldwater representative, Dr. Nellutla said that this year 1,280 students from 455 institutions were nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship. The foundation named 211 Scholars (recipients of the monetary award) and 281 honorable mentions from institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and University of California-Berkeley.
“This is great news for BSU and it is a tribute to excellent faculty mentoring and commitments made to undergraduate research and national fellowships advisement,” said Amy Couto, student scholars coordinator and Fulbright program adviser, whose office also helped Marissa apply for the scholarship.
She’s well prepared for her summer in Stanford’s labs and any other opportunities that come her way, after spending time in the lab of Dr. Joseph Seggio, associate professor of biology.
She’s definitely developed the traits of a great researcher.
“I think I’ve always been really curious about life, and every single time I take a class and start to understand how things work it makes me want to know more,” Marissa said. “All along, I’ve just been following my curiosity.” (Story and photo by John Winters, G ’11, University News)