Ryan Notti, a sophomore majoring
in biological sciences, is one of just 332
students in the nation to be named a
Goldwater Scholar for 2006-2007.
Notti hopes to become a doctor. He sees himself conducting research in developmental neurobiology, lecturing as a medical school professor, and overseeing the clinical application of his findings at a teaching hospital.
He has worked in the Center
for Regenerative Biology as a student researcher since his freshman year, examining stem cells in adult mouse brains and how their functions change through aging.
“I used to think I’d never be caught dead in a research lab,” says Notti.
“But given UConn’s reputation, I thought I should give it a shot. I fell in love with research, and it has completely changed my view of
a possible career path.”
A paper Notti co-authored, “The Aging Neurogenic Subventricular Zone,” was recently published in the journal Aging Cell – an unusual accomplishment for an undergraduate.
Joanne Conover, an assistant professor of physiology and neurobiology who oversees the lab where Notti works, describes him as a diligent, mature student who
puts in the effort necessary to succeed
“He immersed himself and learned almost all the techniques of the laboratory and became competent in them,” Conover says.
“He very quickly understood the basic premise for the work that we’re doing. And because he understood what the questions were, he was able to design his own
In addition to his studies and work in the lab, Notti performs community service as assistant director of the Windham Heights After-School Tutorial Program.
Also, he was a policy fellow at the Connecticut Health Policy Project this past intersession.
Kristina McCleary, a junior with a dual major in chemistry and cell biology at UConn, received an honorable mention in the 2006 Goldwater competition.
McCleary hopes to become a biochemist conducting research into the interactions of biological macromolecules and their impact on biological systems.
“It’s a testament to how far we’ve come as a University, and evidence of the importance of our newly established Office of National Scholarships, that our students are being recognized and awarded prestigious scholarships,” says Lynne Goodstein, associate vice provost and director of the Honors Program.
Two other UConn students, Chris Pavasaris, an honors student majoring in political science, and Amy VanHeuverzwyn, an honors student with an individualized major in human rights and civil liberties, have been nominated for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships this year.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.
This year’s scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,081 mathematics, science, and engineering students nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
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.