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Carthage College junior Yana Astter ’21 is among 396 undergraduate students from around the country awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The federally endowed award was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

“Being a recipient of this scholarship reveals to me that I am on the right path to developing a career in research, and only encourages me further to pursue translational medicine. I am excited to see the opportunities this award will bring me in my career,” Astter said.

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

This year’s Goldwater Scholars were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a pool of 1,343 students nominated by the institutional representatives of 461 colleges and universities nationwide. Virtually all scholars intend to obtain a Ph.D. 

Astter, a Chemistry and Biology from Johnsburg, Illinois, plans to pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. in physician-scientist training and ultimately hopes for a research career developing nanotechnologies to diagnose and treat diseases.

While at Carthage, she has worked in the lab of Professor John Kirk, joining in on the efforts to synthesize gold and silica nanoparticles for use as a sensor for detecting organic compounds in water.

Astter’s other projects include research at Johns Hopkins University through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, where she studied the characteristics of synthetic biomolecular particles that could be developed into new therapies, such as in cancer treatment or improving tissue regeneration.

“She is going to be an outstanding woman scientist and I look forward to watching her make serious contributions to medical research in the future,” said Carthage chemistry professor Christine Blaine.

Outside of the laboratory and classroom, Yana is active as a leader of the Pre-Health Club and Chemistry Club, and serves as a tutor in the Chemistry Department and a Resident Assistant in the residence halls. The $7500 scholarship will be applied to Astter’s senior-year studies. 

Since 1989, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded 9,047 scholarships worth more than $71 million. Astter’s Goldwater Scholarship marks the first time a Carthage student has been selected for the award.

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