UVM Junior Wins Competitive Goldwater Scholarship
- By Aimee Michelle Hutton
Anna Schmoker, a junior chemistry major in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. She is one of just 260 Goldwater Scholars chosen from a competitive field of 1,206 applicants from universities all over the U.S.
Goldwater Scholarships, given on the basis of academic merit, are the premier undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Schmoker came to UVM in the fall of 2012 planning to major in nutrition, which was in line with her background as a professional ballet dancer with the Kansas City Ballet. However, she discovered her love for chemistry during her first semester on campus. Having discovered her passion, she jumped into the field and has won many accolades for her work. In 2014, she was awarded the Beckman Scholarship, which currently provides three UVM students with $21,000 in scholarship funding for two summers and one academic year of in-depth research. She was also awarded the Donald C. Gregg Award for Excellence in Chemistry last year.
As a Beckman Scholar, Schmoker works closely with chemistry professors Giuseppe Petrucci and Rory Waterman and spends at least ten hours per week during the school year in the lab. Her research looks to improve the accuracy of studying the effects of respirable nanoparticles on human health. This is done by exposing lung epithelial cells to airborne nanoparticulates and has real world applications in analytical and biochemistry, medicine and public health.
After her planned 2016 graduation, Schmoker expects to earn a doctorate in analytical chemistry in her quest to become a professor. She hopes to teach the next generation of scientists while conducting research in analytical chemistry with environmental and health applications.