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Norman – Two University of Oklahoma students have been named 2012 Goldwater Scholars, bringing to 33 the number of OU students named Goldwater Scholars since 1995 and placing OU in the top ranks of universities nationally. OU Honors students, Adrian Lucy and Nathan Thomas, were awarded the prestigious scholarships on the basis of their potential and intent to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.
“It is a great honor for the university to have two Goldwater Scholars in math and science in a single year and continues our national leadership in this program,” said OU President David L. Boren.
Lucy, a sophomore majoring in astrophysics and the history of science, is from Blue Bell, Pa. He is working with Karen M. Leighly, OU associate professor of physics and astronomy, as a research assistant on quasars, extraordinarily luminous objects powered by the whirling in-fall of matter onto supermassive black holes. Specifically, he studies clouds of light-absorbing gas that emerge from these objects at thousands of kilometers per second, and that may influence the evolution of galaxies. Last summer, he participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates internship and has presented his research at an American Astronomical Society conference. Currently, he is working on a paper to be submitted to the Astrophysical Journal. This summer, Lucy will work as an intern for the Undergraduate Student Research Program at NASA Goddard in the X-ray galaxies group with Ann E. Hornschemeier and Bret Lehmer. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in astrophysics and develop a career in research.
Lucy has a 3.84 grade-point average and is a student in the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College at OU. He is co-founder and president of the OU chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, has participated in the Sooner Elementary Engineering and Science outreach program and has served on the History of Science Department Student Advisory Committee. A National Merit Scholar, Lucy’s honors and awards include the J. Clarence Karcher Scholarship for academic merit in physics, a third-place award in the 2011 History of Science Undergraduate Essay Contest, and listing on the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls.
Thomas, from Dayton, Ohio, holds a 4.0 grade-point average and is pursuing a degree in biochemistry. Since fall 2010, he has worked with Michael Ashby, OU professor of chemistry and biochemistry, on several projects concerning the mechanism of the reaction of resveratrol with hypochlorous acid that could help explain some of the cancer-fighting benefits of resveratrol. Currently, he continues research on the reaction mechanisms of hypochlorous acid with other aromatic compounds. In addition, he has written and submitted abstracts to two conferences, including the Southwest Regional meeting of the American Chemical Society. This summer, Thomas will participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research program at the OU Health Sciences Center. His plans include obtaining a doctoral degree in biochemistry/cancer biology and conducting research on cancer prevention and early detection.
A National Merit Scholar award, he is a recipient of the CRC Press Chemistry Award and is listed on the President’s Honor Roll. He is a teaching assistant for general chemistry, a student in the Honors College, the service coordinator for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a violinist for the OU Symphony, captain and coordinator for intramural sports, a volunteer with The Big Event, and a past moderator for the Oklahoma Academic Team.
The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. This year, nearly 2,000 college sophomores and juniors across the country competed for the 282 scholarships; 190 received Honorable Mentions. The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.