AUBURN - David Marshall Harris, a junior in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering majoring in chemical engineering at Auburn University, has been chosen as a 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.
This scholarship, awarded to only about 300 students nationwide, is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United State for undergraduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
Harris specializes in biomedical applications of chemical engineering and his goal is to use polymer engineering to make a safer and more effective drug-eluting stent. A graduate of Spain Park High School in Hoover and a member of the University Honors College, Harris' research has been guided by Mark Byrne, the Mary and John Sanders Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Biomedical Devices and Drug Delivery Labs at Auburn University.
"Receiving this scholarship was a pleasant surprise as well as a career validation for me," Harris said. "I want to go to medical school as part of an M.D. and Ph.D. program and have a career in biotechnology and patient care. I chose my research project because there is a great need for safer drug-eluting stents and I hope to be able to provide that one day."
"Competition for the scholarship is intense," said Paul Harris, associate director of the National Prestigious Scholarship Office. We can select only four undergraduate students to submit applications at the national level. The applicants must write a research proposal and explain to the selection committee what their findings were and also submit three letters of recommendation. We select only the strongest candidates to move forward."
Zachary Devries, a junior in the College of Sciences and Mathematics majoring in zoology and a graduate of Auburn High School, was also named a 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Honorable Mention. An Undergraduate Research Fellow and member of the University Honors College, Devries' research involves the behavioral and physiological responses to low aquatic oxygen levels in two species of salamanders and was directed by Raymond Henry, professor and assistant chair in the Department of Biological Sciences.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses up to a maximum of $7,500 annually for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and housing.
In awarding scholarships, the foundation of trustees considers the nominee's field of study and career objectives along with the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution the field of science or engineering.
"David deserves this significant honor and he stands out among his peers by his excellence both inside and outside the classroom," Byrne said. "He has remarkable scholarship and is highly motivated, both contributing to his unparalleled professional promise. This scholarship and the recognition associated with it gives him the opportunity to make substantial strides in an open-ended educational pursuit such as research."
(Written by: Brittany Cosby.)