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Biology Student’s Goldwater Scholarship Makes Fifth for IUP

Kelsi Lindblad

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has named an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student as a winner in its national competition.

Kelsi Lindblad, a junior Biology major from Farmington, Mich., and a member of the Robert E. Cook Honors College and Biology Honors Program, was one of only 278 students chosen for the award.

Lindblad’s selection for the scholarship makes five IUP Goldwater scholars in the last seven years.

Lindblad, daughter of William and Linda Lindblad, is a 2007 graduate of Farmington High School. At IUP, she is president and cofounder of the Asian Studies Club, a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and the Journal Club, and a volunteer with the Indiana Arts Council.

In summer 2009, she completed an internship at the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health. She has been a presenter for the 2009 and 2010 Undergraduate Scholars Forum and won third place for her poster presentation in the 2009 IUP Women in Natural Science, Mathematics, and Technology competition.

She works at the Cook Honors College as a website maintainer.

The Goldwater scholarship is awarded on the basis of academic merit to undergraduate sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue graduate study in mathematics, science, or engineering. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.

This year’s recipients were selected from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science, and engineering students nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

“Kelsi’s selection for this national, competitive scholarship is another example of national academic excellence among IUP students,” Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, said. “It demonstrates that our students are extremely competitive and well prepared to compete for national and international grants and fellowships. IUP is very proud of our students’ continued success in securing these prestigious awards.”

After graduation from IUP, Lindblad plans to continue her studies with the intention of earning a Ph.D. in neurobiology.

“I was very surprised to learn that I had won,” Lindblad said. She credited the Biology Honors Program; Dr. Mary Lou Zanich, IUP’s local coordinator for the Goldwater competition; Dr. Janet Goebel, director of the Cook Honors College; and Biology Department professor Dr. Robert Henrichsen for her preparation for the application process and for her research experiences.

Having originally come to IUP as a Biology and English double major, Linblad said she has always been interested in how human brains work. “I think it’s a mysterious and fascinating field.”

Her research at IUP and at the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health has focused on manipulating paramecia and observing ultradian rhythms in their behavior and investigating those rhythms in spontaneous movements made by human infants during sleep.

She hopes to expand that work to study the relationship between the ultradian and circadian rhythms seen in paramecia swimming behaviors in an attempt to determine if the rhythms are linked.

“This new research would help to further my understanding both of biological rhythms and of neuroscience, to help to prepare me for a graduate program in neuroscience by allowing me to explore elements common to all neuronal systems, and to introduce myself to the field of neuroscience while also tackling a significant issue in the field of biological timing,” Linblad said.

Previous IUP Goldwater winners are Elizabeth Paladin, a Chemistry major who won in 2007; Kristin Juhasz, a Biology and Anthropology double major who won in 2006; Thomas Baker, a Chemistry major who won in 2004; and Brigid Mooney, a Mathematics major who won in 2003.

The Goldwater scholarship program, founded in 1986, is designed to help alleviate the shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in the United States. According to the Goldwater Foundation, the scholarship is “the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.”