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My Town: Hope College students receive Goldwater Scholarship and honorable mentions | Community Spirit

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My Town: Hope College students receive Goldwater Scholarship and honorable mentions
My Town: Hope College students receive Goldwater Scholarship and honorable mentions

HOLLAND – A total of three Hope College juniors have received recognition through the highly competitive scholarship program of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Andrew Valesano of Sherwood, Ore., has received a Goldwater Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year, while Caitlin Kozack of Carol Stream, Ill., and McLane Watson of Louisville, Colo., have each received honorable mentions.  The foundation selected only 283 students for scholarships and only 247 for honorable mention nationwide.

The scholarships were awarded by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to undergraduate sophomores and juniors.  The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from among 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The scholarships are for one or two years, depending on the recipient’s year in school, and cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Numerous Hope students have received scholarships or honorable mention through the years.  Across the past five years, for example, five have received scholarships and nine have received honorable mention.

Valesano is a biology major who is interested in pursuing either a medical degree or a doctorate in microbiology and immunology and conducting research in infectious diseases and human-microbe interactions.  He has been conducting collaborative research while at Hope with Dr. Aaron Best, who is the Harrison C. and Mary L. Visscher Associate Professor of Genetics.

His other activities at the college have included the college’s Jazz Arts Collective.  He is the son of Wade and Connie Valesano of Sherwood, Ore., and completed his home school program in 2011.

Kozack is a chemistry major, and mathematics and dance minor, who is interested in pursuing a doctorate in organic chemistry and conducting research in synthetic organic chemistry and teaching at the university level.  She has been conducting collaborative research while at Hope with Dr. Elizabeth Sanford, who is an associate professor of chemistry.

Her other activities at the college have included the H2 Dance Company resident repertory dance company affiliated with the college’s Department of Dance and the Nykerk Cup competition.  She is the daughter of Wayne and Susan Kozack of Carol Stream, Ill., and a 2011 graduate of Glenbard North High School.

Watson is a biology major who is interested in pursuing a doctorate in molecular biology and conducting research in biomedical science at an institute or university.  He has been conducting collaborative research while at Hope with Dr. Aaron Putzke, who is an assistant professor of biology and Towsley Research Scholar.

His other activities at the college have included the Orchestra and Symphonette.  He is the son of Gregory and Sue Watson of Louisville, Colo., and is a 2011 graduate of Monarch High School.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.  Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed 7,163 scholarships worth approximately $46 million.  The Trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year.

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