Five undergraduates awarded prestigious Beinecke, Goldwater scholarships

Five juniors have been selected for two prestigious national scholarships: Susanna M. Rinard was one of 18 undergraduates nationwide to be awarded a 2005 Beinecke Scholarship, and Phillip A. Dumesic, Devarati Mitra, Arvind Ravi and Philip A. Tanedo were among the 320 sophomores and juniors nationwide (from a field of 1,091 applicants) to receive Goldwater Scholarships for the 2005-06 academic year.

Beinecke Scholarship

Susanna M. Rinard of Dundee, Ore., is a philosophy major. Her early interests in ornithology and evolutionary biology led her to study the philosophy of biology, philosophy of statistical inference and general philosophy of science. She has challenged a popular theory of group selection, arguing that it has internal logical flaws, and has been invited to submit an article on this topic to Biology and Philosophy, the premier journal in the philosophy of biology, as the sole author.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of Sperry and Hutchinson Co. to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, who together led the company in the 1920s. Each scholar receives $2,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. Since 1975 the program has selected more than 355 college juniors from 96 different schools.

Goldwater Scholarships

Phillip A. Dumesic of Minnetonka, Minn., is a biological sciences major. From spring 2001 through fall 2002 he worked at the Mayo Clinic, defining a blastomere fixation method that optimized the accuracy of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis using fluorescence in situ hybridization. In October 2002, Dumesic joined the laboratory of Paul Khavari, the Carl J. Herzog Professor in Dermatology in the School of Medicine. There he is investigating the roles of Mek1 and Mek2 genes in the epidermis. In a concurrent project, Dumesic is altering Erk1 and Erk2 expression in human skin to assess roles of these genes. This work contributes to a better understanding of the physiology of human skin, including disorders such as carcinoma.

Devarati Mitra of Rockville, Md., is a biological sciences major. During the summers of 2000 through 2003, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Ramanujan Hegde at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the National Institutes of Health. In spring 2004, Mitra joined the laboratory of Michael Rexach, assistant professor of biological sciences, to study the binding requirements of nuclear transport factors. Beginning in summer 2004, she joined the research group of Philip Hanawalt, professor of biological sciences and of dermatology, to investigate the mechanism of transcription-coupled DNA repair, the focus of her honors thesis. In particular, Mitra is studying the role of UVSS, a protein involved in severe sensitivity to ultraviolet light, in this DNA repair pathway.

Arvind Ravi of Chesterfield, Mo., is majoring in chemistry (with honors) and earning a secondary major in mathematics. From 1999 to the summer of 2003, he conducted research at Washington University in St. Louis, first in chemical engineering, then in biomedical engineering. In summer 2004, Ravi studied lymphocyte motility on a National Institutes of Health summer internship in biomedical sciences. Since fall 2004, he has been working in the laboratory of Chaitan Khosla, the Wells H. Rauser and Harold M. Petiprin Professor in the School of Engineering, on substrate tolerance of the polyketide synthase that synthesizes rifamycin. He plans to continue this work through the summer on a Bing Summer Fellowship; the ultimate goal of this research is to evaluate the possibility of generating new medicines.

Philip A. Tanedo of Los Angeles is pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics. During summer 2003, he worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) with a Department of Energy-Office of Science internship. Working with SLAC physicist Yiton Yan, Tanedo assisted in the implementation of model independent analysis on the PEP-II charged particle storage ring. During the past year and a half, Tanedo has worked in the lab of Ian Fisher, assistant professor of applied physics, where he has collaborated with graduate student Suchitra Sebastian on the growth and characterization of spin gap dimer compounds as an accessible model Bose Einstein Condensate-like system. He is currently working with physics Professor Savas Dimopoulos, postdoctoral fellow Jacob Wacker and graduate student Asimina Arvanitaki on the phenomenology of split supersymmetry, a new class of extensions to the Standard Model of physics developed by Dimopoulos in 2004. His particular research will be to calculate the expected signal of a split supersymmetric theory at a next-generation particle collider and to assess the viability of such theories to account for dark-matter particles. This is the research he will use for his undergraduate honors thesis.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred sixty-five of the scholars are men, 155 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a doctorate. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986 to honor former U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who died in 1998. The scholarship program is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.