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Going for the Gold: ONU students receive Goldwater Scholarships

Ohio Northern is well represented among this year's list of Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program recipients. Begun in 1986, the Goldwater Foundation awards scholarships to undergraduate sophomores and juniors across the nation. Two ONU students - one scholarship winner and one honorable mention - were selected from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science and engineering students.

Nicholas Dunn

Nicholas Dunn credits his 2008 Goldwater Scholarship to the research experience he's had at Ohio Northern. Dunn, a junior chemistry and physics major from Harrod, Ohio, received the prestigious scholarship - one of just 321 awarded this year - for his work with Axo Dyes and their use in medicine.

Applicants for the Goldwater write an essay describing research they've completed or would like to complete. Dunn wrote about research he had conducted with Dr. Jeffrey Gray, professor of chemistry.

"Having already completed my research last summer was a factor in my winning," he explains. "I was thrilled to win the scholarship, especially against such stiff competition."

What made Dunn's Axo Dye research unique was the addition of water: "People don't typically study these dyes in water. The pH has a drastic effect on the time it takes for them to flip, which was our main focus."

Dunn plans to turn his majors into a career in chemistry research, which is what attracted him to the science scholarship. "I have a chemistry research interest, so this is right up my alley," says Dunn, who would eventually like to investigate the properties of materials important to alternative energies.

In addition to his Goldwater win, Dunn has also presented at the American Chemical Society national meeting last April in New Orleans, an experience that reaffirms the value of his ONU education. "The research options at Northern are tremendous. I've been given opportunities and faculty attention here that I wouldn't have had at another university."

Samuel Manzer

Samuel Manzer describes the Goldwater Scholarship as an initiative to "find the next generation of cutting-edge scientists and engineers." Although he did not receive the scholarship, Manzer's "Honorable Mention" qualifies him as an up-and-coming scientist in his own right.

The senior chemistry major from Ada, Ohio, is on the college fast track. When most his age are graduating high school, Manzer is nearly finished with his undergraduate education and looking toward graduate school.

Despite his young age, Manzer has taken an interest in anti-aging therapies, which he used as the hypothetical research topic for his Goldwater application.

"Mine was a new proposal concerning Resveratrol, which is a compound of polyphenols found in grapes. This compound demonstrates health benefits similar to antioxidants. They show promise for slowing down the aging process in mammals and could help treat age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes," he explains. Dr. Kimberly Broekmeier, associate professor of biochemistry, serves as Manzer's research advisor.

As he heads into his senior year, Manzer has much ahead of him. With his compass set on graduate school, he's already visiting universities, including the aging program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "I'm really interested in anti-aging therapies, and this field has made interesting progress, which I'd like to be a part of," he says.