Goldwater Program awards scholarships to two TU students

Monday, April 05, 2010

Goldwater is the premier award for recognizing students pursuing careers in science, mathematics and engineering

University of Tulsa students Rachel Hoffmann and Zach Winkler have been named 2010 Goldwater Scholars, the premier award for recognizing students pursuing careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

Forty-six TU students have earned Goldwater Scholarships since 1995. 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, with sophomores receiving two-year scholarships. 

Both Winkler and Hoffmann have participated in the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC), where faculty mentors and internal funding fueled their research. Their extensive undergraduate research experience, starting from their freshman year, has positioned them well to enter graduate school, and both plan to pursue a doctoral degree in disease treatment.

Zach Winkler, a junior biochemistry major from Colorado Springs, Colo., has conducted research in gold nanoparticles, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and antiviral therapies. His work in understanding interactions of the drug used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease has led him to present his original research findings at American Chemical Society meetings in 2009 and 2010. His latest findings will be submitted to the academic journal, “Biochemical Pharmacology.”

Winkler also volunteers at the University of Oklahoma Family Health Center, a free clinic for the uninsured. His time working with patients suffering from chronic diseases has inspired him to pursue his Ph.D. in toxicology and a career at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Rachel Hoffmann, a sophomore biochemistry major from Searcy, Ark., is investigating the relationship between genetics and individual differences in pain thresholds. Working with interdisciplinary teams in psychology and biochemistry, her award-winning research has been presented at the 2009 Society for Neuroscience Conference and the 2009 Oklahoma Psychological Association Conference. Her current research analyzes how cells destroy pathogens in the body, and she presented her work at the 2010 American Chemical Society Meeting.

Because of a unique program at TU, Hoffmann has been able to combine her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in order to complete both degrees in only four years. She plans to earn her doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology, and then work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in treating diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Since 1995, TU students have received 46 Goldwater Scholarships, 29 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, 9 Truman Scholarships, 7 Department of Defense Fellowships, 7 Fulbright Grants and 6 Morris K. Udall Scholarships.

Amethyst Cavallaro