Roanoke College student receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Salem, Va. -- Roanoke College student Jeremy Johnson has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Johnson, a chemistry major from Bluefield, Va., is one of 282 students from colleges and universities nationwide selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The Goldwater Scholars were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by faculty. Of the 282 recipients, 174 of the Scholars are men, 108 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty Scholars are mathematics majors, 194 are science and related majors, 58 are majoring in engineering and 10 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering and computer disciplines.

Johnson, who plans to earn an M.D. and Ph.D., wants to conduct research on cancer treatment and develop drugs to combat cancer.

"My mother is a cancer survivor and she has benefitted from new cancer drugs, and this has inspired me to help create new beneficial drugs with fewer side effects," Johnson said. "There's a big need for that."

Johnson has conducted hands-on research at Roanoke through programs such as the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program, the Bondurant Scholar and the Summer Scholars program.

"It's been great to learn about the instruments and how they work," he said. "It's nice that we are trusted to work on the equipment."

All of Johnson's research has been with Dr. Vernon Miller, professor of chemistry, who describes Johnson as "intellectually curious."

"When he comes in to talk about research, he wants to know what is happening behind the scenes," Miller said. "At this stage, he is doing his own research, and he's trying to take it forward. I would say he understands research better than a first year grad student."

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 78 Rhodes Scholarships, 112 Marshall Awards, 104 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation Program is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The program, honoring the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has awarded over 6,200 scholarships, worth approximately $39 million.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

Released: May 17, 2012
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