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USF Trio Wins Goldwater Scholarships

USF News

In an honor for both the students and the school, three University of South Florida juniors have been named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

Not only are Michael Calzadilla, Kaitlin Deutsch and Fiona Kearns among the 238 students from across the country receiving the honor, they're also the only Goldwater Scholars this year in the State University System of Florida.

The three will each receive $7,500 for educational expenses and research support. They beat out more than 1,000 students nominated for the most prestigious undergraduate award for science research. The scholarships are named after Barry M. Goldwater, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Here are the students' biographies, courtesy USF:

  • Michael Calzadilla, of Valrico, a junior in the USF Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences. Michael is double majoring in physics and mathematics and intends to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He is preparing to submit his first journal publication on active galactic nuclei and black holes. During the next few months he will focus on an interdisciplinary project using radio antennas to observe the sun and Milky Way, collaborating with students from physics, electrical engineering and computer science. Calzadilla is also starting a student physics club on campus. His campus mentors for the Goldwater were faculty members Philip Bishop and Doug Gobeille.
  • Kaitlin Deutsch, of Gainesville, a junior in the Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in biology and environmental science and policy. Deutsch, an undergraduate research assistant in amphibian ecology, is studying the behavioral resistance of oak toads to the devastating chytrid fungus. Her work has already been published in academic journals, including a co-authored manuscript in the prestigious Nature. Deutsch intends to pursue a Ph.D. in entomology and/or ornithology and hopes to build a career in conservation biology, working to address some of the most pressing issues for the protection of species with which we coexist. She is currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. Her campus mentors for the Goldwater were faculty members Jason Rohr and Arcadii Grinshpan.
  • Fiona Kearns, of Palm Bay, a junior in the Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences majoring in chemistry. Her recent research project on computational chemistry research examines the relationship between catalase and nitric oxide. Kearns is also studying the chemical defense mechanism of Antarctic sea sponges. Last summer she won first place for a presentation at USF’s National Science Foundation Research Day. Kearns hopes to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and conduct research in drug discovery, energy conservation or medical imaging technology, utilizing computer simulations. Her campus mentors for the Goldwater were faculty members Henry Lee Woodcock, Bill Baker and Doug Gobeille.

Calzadille, Deutsch and Kearns join five previous USF scholars who won the honor in the last four years (see stories about three of the previous winners here and here).

“The scholarly accomplishments of Michael, Kaitlin and Fiona give the entire USF community much to be proud of,” USF Provost Ralph Wilcox said. “Congratulations to these talented and innovative students and to the professors and mentors who are dedicated to supporting them. We know their discoveries and insights will have a major impact on the world, and we look forward to many more successes to come.”

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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