Villanova Students Receive Goldwater Scholarships

Emily Cox

Three University students were recently named Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. 

These students were selected from nearly 1,300 students nationwide to receive this honor and award, established by Congress in in 1986 to honor Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. 

Biology major Kali Carrasco, Chemistry major Claire Teahan and Mathematics major Alexander Vetter were awarded this prestigious prize, and Mechanical Engineering major Andrew Lee received an honorable mention. 

This scholarship encourages faculty-nominated, outstanding students who are pursuing careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Carrasco, Biology major and Villanova Beckman Foundation Scholar, works with roundworm  (Caenorhabditis elegans) C. elegans, studying how the expression of certain genes related to the ins-1/IGF insulin-signaling pathway contribute to the functional decline of tissues that occurs with aging. She has conducted this research as a part of Dr. Matthew Youngman’s team and has conducted research with Dr. Troy Shirangi in the past.

From Brookfield, Wisconsin, Carrasco has presented her work to many and authors biology content for a study platform. She tutors students in Genetics, General Biology and General Chemistry, and teaches English as a second language to adults at Centro San Jose.

Teehan, a Chemistry major, joined Dr. Jared Paul’s research group in her first year at Villanova. After receiving the James J. and Ann M. O’Malley Research Fellowship in 2016, she received the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2017. 

Teehan’s research has centered on advancing alternative renewable energy sources to solve the critical issue of fossil fuel dependence. While studying abroad in Fall 2017, she designed an independent project after joining a lab at the National Institute of Ireland Galway.

 She hopes to research and teach at the university level in the future, after pursuing graduate studies in catalytic chemistry and renewable energy.

Vetter, a Villanova Presidential Scholar and Mathematics major with a Computer Science minor, was a Match Research Program grantee as a freshman, and he has worked with Dr. Michael Brown in Psychology and Brain Sciences. Vetter has participated in an independent study with Dr. Andrew Woldar in graph theory and projective geometry and was selected as a National Science Foundation REU student to research coding theory at Clemson in the summer of 2017.

He spent his entire junior year abroad to study in two different math-focused programs in Budapest and Moscow. This coming summer Vetter will conduct mathematics research at the University of Minnesota.

Honorable Mention recipient Lee is a Presidential Scholar at Villanova. As a Mechanical Engineering Major, he began his research career in in Dr. Gang Feng’s research group as a Villanova Match Research Program grantee, studying thermal enhancement of phase change materials via conductive nano-scale networks. 

Although he received a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2016, he chose to accept an engineering research position with the Pax River NAVAIR Materials Division. Lee has pursued research in France, which focused his career on materials science. He hopes to study this fall after college.

“The success of our students in this year’s Goldwater Scholars program is remarkable,” University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD., said. “It’s a testament to their tireless efforts in the lab and classroom, as well as the commitment of Villanova faculty and staff mentors to help them achieve their academic goals. Congratulations to Kali, Claire, Alexander and Andrew on this prestigious honor.”