Junior Kenneth David has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar for the 2020-21 academic year. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation recently announced the 396 recipients from across the United States.
Dr. Althea ArchMiller, assistant professor of biology and campus Goldwater Scholarship representative, says David’s hard work and many accomplishments are evidence of why he received the award.
"The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the premier research scholarships in the country," ArchMiller says. "Kenny exemplifies the Concordia mission by working on research projects that make human lives better, such as with his studies on multiple sclerosis and autism spectrum disorder, while always maintaining a positive attitude and lifting up his fellow Cobbers."
More than 1,300 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students were nominated by 461 academic institutions to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships. Many of the scholars have published their research in leading journals and presented their work at professional society conferences.
“I’m honored and excited to receive the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence Scholar Award,” David says. “Highly competitive, the Goldwater Scholarship demonstrates strong leadership potential as an independent researcher.”
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater. Its stated goal is “to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.”
David learned about the Goldwater Scholarship while talking to Concordia alumnus Alex Ritter ’09 as a first-year student. Ritter won a Goldwater in 2008.
“Fast forward two years, two amazing internships, and incredible mentorship from all my professors, especially Dr. Krys Strand and Dr. Althea ArchMiller, and I was fortunate enough to apply,” David says. “The application process alone was a fantastic learning experience and I’m thrilled to receive the scholarship. Going forward, this will greatly support my applications for graduate training and fellowships.”
The application was split into two main sections: general application questions and a research essay. First, David articulated why he is pursuing a career in neuroscience research and the areas he is most interested in. He plans to earn a doctorate in neuroscience and conduct cutting-edge research in either neuroimmunology of disease or neuroscience of consciousness.
The research essay consisted of squeezing an entire research project into three pages. He wrote about his 2019 research internship at the Mayo Clinic.
“Working in Dr. Charles Howe’s Translational Neuroimmunology Lab with Dr. Ben Clarkson, I investigated molecular pathways that might contribute to axon injury in multiple sclerosis,” David says. “This internship cemented my drive for a career in neuroscience research and broadened my view of what types of research questions excite me.”
David says that, through research, one can passionately engage with a subject, question, or idea at a much deeper level than what’s possible in most courses. He believes research is also important for building highly transferable skills such as critical thinking, careful observation, and active collaboration.
“For anyone curious about the Goldwater Scholarship or undergraduate research, I highly encourage getting involved,” he says.