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>  News Releases >   2007 >   April

Dartmouth junior Laura Myers wins a 2007 Goldwater Scholarship; classmates Meghan Feely and Kristen Lurie win honorable mentions

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/11/07
Roland Adams • (603) 646-3661

(Article written by Linzi Sheldon '07, Whitney Campbell Undergraduate Intern, Dartmouth Public Affairs Office)
Laura Myers '08
Laura Myers '08 (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
Meghan Feely '08
Meghan Feely '08
Kristen Lurie '08
Kristen Lurie '08 (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Three Dartmouth juniors have received national recognition by The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program for their achievements in engineering and the natural sciences. Laura Myers '08 is a 2007 Goldwater Scholar while Meghan Feely '08 and Kristen Lurie '08 were recognized with honorable mentions.

Congress established the Goldwater Foundation in 1986 to honor the late Barry M. Goldwater, U.S. Senator from Arizona from 1952-87, by encouraging outstanding students pursuing careers in engineering, mathematics, and science. The Foundation awarded 317 scholarships nationwide this year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors, with winners receiving $7,500 grants and honorable mentions receiving $350. The Goldwater Foundation selects scholars based heavily on their academic merit.

Myers, who is from Gansevoort, N.Y., is a biology and Spanish double major. At Dartmouth, she has earned the distinction of being a Rufus Choate Scholar for achieving a GPA in the top five percent of her class. Myers has focused mainly on biomedical research in stem cell biology.

"I'm just really excited because I know it's a really competitive applicant pool," Myers said of the Goldwater Scholarship.

Myers has been involved in Dartmouth's Women in Science Project (WISP) and currently serves as a Dartmouth Presidential Scholar for Dr. Nancy Speck at Dartmouth Medical School.

Stem cell research first caught Myers' attention when she chose the topic for her high school senior thesis. As she began to research the subject, she became more interested in the politics surrounding the issue. Myers contacted Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University, the first person to derive human embryonic stem cells, for further explanations about the science.

In fall 2006, Myers brought Dr. Gearhart to Dartmouth in a panel on science, policy, and ethics—at the crossroads of which lies stem cell research, Myers said. She has continued demonstrating initiative on campus, starting the Dartmouth chapter of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research.

This summer, Myers looks forward to continuing her research in an internship with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She will be working at McLean Hospital in Boston, researching embryonic stem cells and differentiating them into neurons that secrete dopamine. The research's objective, Myers said, will be to artificially grow these neurons, which are affected in Parkinson's disease.

Meghan Feely '08, a Goldwater Honorable Mention from Short Hills, N.J., will also be spending her junior summer researching in Boston. She will be returning to her position as intern to the Scientific Director of the CBR Institute of Biomedical Research, an independent research institute academically affiliated with Harvard Medical School. While she interns, Feely also plans to volunteer at the Children's Hospital of Boston.

"The recipients' accomplishments are truly outstanding," Feely said. "I'm honored to be recognized by the committee."

Feely, a double major in biophysical chemistry and history, has focused her studies on an immunological approach to oncology and is currently serving as a Presidential Scholar. As the Co-Coordiantor of the WISP Peer Mentor Program, she encourages freshmen women to pursue their aspirations in medicine and engineering

Her experiences with cancer research began during a First-Year Summer Research Project that funded her retrospective study of patients with multiple myeloma. Both Myers and Feely plan to enroll in medical school following their Dartmouth careers to pursue M.D.-Ph.Ds.

Dartmouth junior Kristen Lurie also received recognition as a Goldwater Honorable Mention. Co-president of the Dartmouth Society of Women Engineers, Lurie is an engineering major and mathematics minor from Oceanside, N.Y. High school research experience in protein chemistry interested Lurie in science and prompted her to try something new—engineering—at Dartmouth.

Lurie gained experience through an internship at The Cleveland Clinic during her freshman summer, where she helped design bearings to mediate axial thrusts in heart pumps. During her junior winter, Lurie interned at Creare Inc., an engineering research and development firm in Hanover, and she has since spearheaded a FIRST LEGO League team that encourages elementary school girls to test out engineering skills through interactive robotics.

"I like the more hands-on approach," Lurie said of her involvement in engineering. "It's the experience of making something and seeing that it works."

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