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April 15, 2010

Pitt students win Goldwater, Udall scholarships

Two Pitt students have been named recipients of 2010 Goldwater and Udall scholarships.

Nicholas R. DeStefino, a neuroscience and history major, was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. Amy L. Scarbrough, who is majoring in ecology and evolution and bioinformatics, was named a Udall Scholar.

DeStefino, whose career plans are to teach and conduct research on the neural bases of mental health disease, was among 278 Goldwater scholars selected from a field of 1,111 math, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The scholarship program honoring Sen. Barry M. Goldwater was designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Scholars receive a maximum of $7,500 per year to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. In its 24-year history, the Goldwater foundation has awarded 6,079 scholarships worth approximately $58 million.

Two Pitt students were among 50 receiving honorable mentions in the Goldwater competition. They are physics major Edlyn Victoria Levine and computer engineering/Japanese major Heather Lynn Duschl.

Udall winner Scarbrough was among 80 students selected as Udall Scholars from among 537 candidates nominated by 256 institutions. Scholars are selected on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential, and academic achievement.

Scarbrough studies what she says are “the seemingly disparate fields of ecology and supercomputing in order to one day join pioneering scientific efforts in the field of computational ecology.” Her goal is to fight environmental degradation by simulating entire ecosystems.

The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Morris K. Udall’s 30-year legacy of public service. It provides federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American students pursuing tribal policy or health care careers.

Each Udall scholarship provides up to $5,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year. Honorable mentions receive a $350 award. There have been 1,155 Udall scholars named since the award’s inception in 1996.

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