LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas students who have been actively involved in undergraduate research during their university careers are competing for Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, regarded as the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics. The students are supported by the nationally recognized University Honors Program.
- Ashley Farris, a junior from Wichita majoring in biochemistry
- Alex Kong, a junior from Lawrence majoring in pharmacy
- Ryan Limbocker, a junior from Overland Park majoring in chemistry
- Kayla Sale, a junior from Olathe majoring in biology and mathematics
A total of 55 KU students have received Goldwater scholarships since they first were awarded in 1989. Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
The Goldwater Foundation trustees will announce the 2014 winners in late March. The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up $7,500 annually. The trustees intend to award up to 300 Goldwater scholarships. The number of scholarships to be awarded per state will depend on the number and qualifications of the nominees from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career and faculty recommendations.
All the nominees are members of the University Honors Program. Brief descriptions of their research experience and career plans follow.
Ashley Farris is a junior biochemistry major from Wichita. The daughter of Alyson and Lee Farris, she graduated from Wichita Northwest High School. At KU she has been active in Professor Michael Detamore’s Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering lab. She plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering and wants to conduct research on stem cells and tissue engineering mechanics at the university level.
Alex Kong is a junior majoring in pharmacy from Lawrence. The son of Man and Sue Kong, he graduated from Free State High School. At KU he has been active in Professor Jeff Krise’s lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He plans to earn a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry and conduct research in pharmaceutical science, teach at the university level and increase scientific literacy.
Ryan Limbocker is a junior majoring in chemistry from Overland Park. The son of Craig and Kathi Limbocker, he graduated from Blue Valley North High School. At KU he has been active in Professor Michael Johnson’s research group in the Department of Chemistry. He plans to pursue a doctorate in analytical chemistry and research the fundamental origins of neurodegeneration, focusing on post chemotherapy cognitive impairment, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Kayla Sale is a junior from Olathe majoring in ecology, evolution and behavioral biology, and applied mathematics. The daughter of John and Jamea Sale, she is a graduate of Olathe North High School. At KU she has performed research with Professor Joy Ward in ecology and evolutionary biology and Professor Perry Alexander in computer engineering. She plans to pursue a doctorate in theoretical/computational ecology and develop mathematical constructs and computational techniques to model ecosystems as a primary investigator.