SUNY’s CNSE undergrad to receive the nation’s most prestigious award for science and engineering

As testament to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s educational blueprint, Zachary Olmsted, a junior Nanoscale Engineering major at SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), has been chosen to receive the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the second consecutive year that a CNSE student has been honored with the nation’s premier undergraduate award designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

“I am delighted to congratulate Zachary Olmsted from our world-class College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, whose notable recognition as a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship identifies him as one of the nation’s top undergraduate scientific scholars,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I also commend Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and CNSE for their critical role in supporting the SUNY system’s ability to develop a new generation of high-tech talent that will be an invaluable asset for New York’s future.“

 “I am thrilled for Zach and proud of his many achievements, and want to congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition as a Goldwater Scholar,” said CNSE Associate Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Janet Paluh, who is Olmsted’s academic advisor. “This award is a reflection of his demonstrated excellence in both the classroom and the laboratory, and a tribute to his passion for, and commitment to, next-generation scientific discovery and exploration at the interface of biology with man-made materials.”

A native of Oneida, New York, Olmsted is one of only 271 students to be recognized nationwide. He was selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities across the country. As part of the award, Olmsted will receive $15,000 in funding for his undergraduate studies over the next two years.

In his research, Olmsted is using the fundamental principles of materials science, biology, and device engineering to develop novel biomedical applications, with a focus of integrating biologic components with devices. Working at both the protein-level, using the model yeast system, and at the cell/organ-level, using pluripotent stem cells, these biosynthetic interfaces show promise to develop new cancer therapeutics and drug testing platforms that will alleviate sole reliance on animal studies. Olmsted, who received an honorable mention in last year’s competition, plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Nanomedicine, a joint program of CNSE and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

“The selection of a CNSE student for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the second year in a row underscores the growing recognition of CNSE’s undergraduate program as a hallmark for academic and research excellence,” said Dr. Daniel White, CNSE Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Professional and Corporate Recruitment and Outreach. “We are pleased to see Zachary receive this honor, which reflects positively on CNSE’s innovative educational paradigm and further defines our student body as among the best in the nation.”

In 2012, Sheila Smith, a Pittstown, New York native who is currently a junior at CNSE majoring in Nanoscale Engineering, was honored with the Goldwater Scholarship.

Student receives nation's most prestigious award for science and engineering

Zachary Olmsted and Dr. Janet Paluh using a

Zeis fluorescence microscope to study a skin cell

In addition, Chase Brisbois, a junior majoring in Nanoscale Science at CNSE, received an honorable mention. Advised by Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Robert Brainard, his research targets the development of photo-imageable hydrogels that self-assemble into 3D scaffolds, which are designed to enable new capabilities and scientific advances in the field of tissue engineering. Brisbois is a native of South Lyon, Michigan.

Designed to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in the United States, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship provides a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.

Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 118 Marshall Awards, 110 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed over 6,550 scholarships worth approximately $40 million.

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