University of Richmond junior Anna Parker was awarded the 2010-2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Of the thousands who applied, Parker, a chemistry major who received honorable mention in last year's Goldwater competition, was one of 278 students to receive the award. The scholarship is given to mathematics, chemistry or engineering majors in hopes it will encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in these fields, according to the program's Web site.
Parker learned of her achievement when she received congratulatory e-mails on March 31 while working in Gottwald Science Center.
"They actually didn't send me things before they put names on the Web site so I didn't know," she said. "And then I got all these e-mails saying, 'Congratulations ...' and I freaked out ... I just ran to my adviser's office."
Parker has been working with her research partner, senior Tyler Steele, and research advisor Carol Parish to research the effects of oxidative damage to DNA.
"[The research is on] how damage to DNA changes the way it replicates itself and what the consequences are for the organism," she said. "The specific damage that I study has been linked to cancer and other forms of degenerative diseases."
At least one University of Richmond student a year has won the $7,500 scholarship, said Jonathan Dattelbaum, co-coordinator for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program and assistant professor of chemistry. There have been eight winners since 2006, which was quite an accomplishment, he said.
"It's a highly prestigious award," Dattelbaum said. "The best schools in the country have science students winning this award so it's a great reward for sciences in UR."
The Wilmington, N.C., native said her academic days would not end next spring. She plans to attend graduate school for chemistry after completing her undergraduate work at Richmond.
"I don't know exactly what I want to do after that," Parker said. "I think I could see myself really liking the lifestyle of a professor: teaching, being around students and staying young I guess. But I don't know. We'll see."
Contact staff writer Kate MacDonnell at email@example.com.
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