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Geology Student Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Apr 4, 2011

Gabby McDaniel, a junior at University of the Pacific, was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the United States for undergraduates majoring in math and science. McDaniel was selected as one of 275 recipients nationwide. She was notified of the award Thursday.

Gabby McDanielMcDaniel, 20, is studying geology in the College of the Pacific, the University's liberal arts school. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in geology with an emphasis in biogeochemistry. In the long term, she plans to conduct research for an environmental consulting firm and possibly teach at the university level.

McDaniel is a very active member of the Pacific community. She is a pitcher on the women's softball team, a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and an American Geological Institute Minority Participation Program Scholar. McDaniel has received a variety of grants and scholarships, including an Athletics Endowed Scholarship, the Subaru Minority Student Scholarship, a Regents Scholarship and an Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

"This scholarship will allow Gabby to take full advantage of all that Pacific has to offer and continue to develop the skills and knowledge required for a successful career," said Laura Rademacher, one of McDaniel's professors and her research advisor. "Gabby is one of those rare students with intellect, poise, motivation, and enthusiasm for learning. These characteristics will undoubtedly lead her to become a great geologist, eager to do her part in solving the world's problems and serve as a role model."

With the help of the Goldwater Scholarship, McDaniel will further her current research project on acid mine drainage in Oakland, Calif. Her project focuses on investigating the biogeochemical cycles of toxic metals and the interactions of microorganisms on contaminant transport in urban lakes and streams.

McDaniel is the latest Pacific student to be granted a major scholarship in the past two years. Last year, Benjamin Aldritt, a 2010 Engineering graduate, was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to continue his engineering research in the design and construction of exoskeleton systems at a research laboratory in Finland. Over the past two years, four students in the School of International Studies have won the U.S. Department of Defenses' prestigious Boren Scholarship for study abroad of critical need languages: Devon Blount, Kristal Leonard, Kelly Walker, and Trevor Rosenbery. McDaniel is the first Pacific student to win a Goldwater.

The Goldwater Scholars are selected on a basis of academic merit from a field of mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by faculty members. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500.

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. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

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