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Congratulations to our Goldwater Scholarship nominees!


Daniel Choffnes

February 06, 2014

This year, Carthage has two nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship, a federally endowed award honoring former Senator Barry Goldwater and designed to support and encourage students to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering fields.

The Goldwater Scholarship provides up to $7,500 in funding per year over one or two years. Sophomores and juniors with an interest in entering research-based graduate school are eligible to apply. Goldwater Scholars will be selected from nominees studying at colleges and universities across the country.

Victoria Jensen ‘16

Victoria Jensen is a sophomore in psychology and neuroscience, minoring in chemistry. She became involved in research during her freshman year, studying the brain’s mechanisms for learning by conducting experiments on rats. Last summer, she participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, working with Professor Dan Miller and student collaborators to better understand the role of a brain structure called the amygdala in anxiety disorders. This work, part of a multi-year effort by Dr. Miller and Carthage neuroscience students, aims to figure out why certain people are more susceptible to conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and might lead to improved diagnosis and treatment in the future.

Victoria is now helping to direct a research study in the Psychological Science Department, works as a chemistry laboratory assistant, and plans to continue her amygdala investigations in the campus rat lab over the next two years. Next steps? She plans to pursue anxiety vulnerability and brain structural research at the Ph.D. level.

Ben Massat ‘16

Ben Massat is a sophomore with majors in biology and philosophy who caught the “bug” for research during his first semester on campus. As a student in the Phage Hunters course, Ben and his classmates discovered viruses that infect bacteria (called phage), teased apart their genetic blueprints, used high-power microscopes to examine them, and published their findings in an online database used by the international scientific community. Ben also represented his peers at last year’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute Phage Symposium in Virginia.

This year, he is continuing to work on phage in an independent project with Professor Deborah Tobiason and a fellow student researcher.

In addition to his contributions in the laboratory, Ben is president of the Philosophy Club; serves as an editor with the Carthage student-run research journal, the Carthage Vanguard; and is a fellow at the Writing Center. After Carthage, Ben plans to enter a physician-scientist training program (M.D./Ph.D.) to investigate new treatments for infectious diseases.

The Goldwater Scholarship is highly competitive, and Victoria and Ben will learn the outcome of the selection process later this year. Their outstanding academic records and research accomplishments are to be commended.

Students interested in pursuing a Goldwater Scholarship or learning about other national and international opportunities should contact Professor Dan Choffnes, Director of Student Fellowships, at