Vol. 17, No. 30May 7, 1998

Two juniors named Goldwater Scholars

Jennifer L. Paulson (left) and Sujata Bhatia

Two University of Delaware juniors have been awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships. Sujata Bhatia of Newark and Jennifer L. Paulson of Hockessin each will receive up to $7,000 annually for college-related expenses.

Authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1985, the Goldwater scholarship program was established to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics. The scholars, who must have an interest in a career in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering, are nominated by their colleges or universities. Up to 250 scholarships are awarded nationally.

Sujata Bhatia

With a triple major in chemical engineering, biochemistry and biotechnology, Bhatia maintains a 3.99 grade point average and plans to pursue a career in academic medicine and research. She said she hopes to obtain both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree through a combined degree program.

A graduate of Christiana High School, she entered UD with 51 advance placement credits, 15 credits from a high school honors program at Widener University and 24 credits from summer work at UD. At the University, she took several senior-level courses during her freshman year and since then has been invited to enroll in several graduate-level courses.

Since September, Bhatia has been doing research in the Department of Chemical Engineering with assistant professor Anne Robinson, studying intermediates in the folding pathway of the bacterial tailspike protein.

Also at UD, she has participated in undergraduate research with Keith Chenault, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, synthesizing fluorinated carbohydrates for use as glycosyl donors. Prior to her freshman year, she worked with Annette Shine, associate professor of chemical engineering, preparing fibers for experiments to study fiber-fiber interactions in viscous media.

During an internship at Massachusettes Institute of Technology, she performed research at the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center as part of a National Science Foundation-sponsored program and, last summer, she worked in research at DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals.

She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Omega Chi Epsilon chemical engineering honor society, the American Institute of Chemical engineers and the American Chemical Society student affiliate.

In recommending her for the scholarship, Jon Olson, professor and associate chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, wrote, "In my opinion, Sujata has already achieved the research maturity of a graduate student of very high quality."

Burnaby Munson, professor of chemistry, wrote, "She is highly regarded and held in awe by her fellow students."

Bhatia's other awards and scholarships include the Chemical Engineering Class of 1950 Scholarship, the American Chemical Society Award in Chemical Engineering, the David Othmer Sophomore Engineering Excellence Award, the Chemical Engineering Industrial Sponsors Scholarship, the Delaware Academy of Science Award in Science and Technology, the UD Honors Scholarship, the Delaware Engineering Society Scholarship, the UD Alumni Association Scholarship, the Diamond State Scholarship, the Robert S. Byrd Scholarship, a National Merit Scholarship and the UD Scholar Award.

Jennifer Paulson

A chemistry major with a minor in biology, who hopes to work in pharmaceuticals or disease research, Paulson plans to study the molecular effects of proposed drug candidates and perform research on medically significant enzymes.

A graduate of St. Mark's High School, Paulson also is a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholar and the recipient of a Diamond State Merit Scholarship, a Delaware Scholars Award, was a 1995 National Merit Commended Scholar, a 1995 Presidential Scholars Semifinalist and took first place for drawing in the 1995 Delaware Regional Scholastic Arts Awards. She is a member of the American Chemical Society student affiliate and has a grade point average of 3.85.

At UD, she has worked in an organic syntheses research lab, performing reactions, monitoring product formation by thin layer chromatography and performing separations using column chromatography and distillation.

Since last summer, she has worked in an enzymology lab at UD, studying several enzymes involved in the tRNA modification. Additionally, she used computer resources in her work, including interment molecular biology databases and homology search engines.

In recommending her for the Goldwater Scholarship, Eugene G. Mueller, assistant professor of biochemistry, wrote, "She is an extraordinarily gifted and enthusiastic young woman who has taken to research with great enthusiasm and a strong desire to learn. Her potential as a researcher is truly phenomenal."

In his recommendation, Harold B. White, professor of biochemistry, wrote. "I would not be surprised if 10 years from now, Jennifer Lynn Paulson, with her Ph.D. from a prominent institution and postdoctoral experience, has a tenure-track academic research appointment."

-Beth Thomas
Photo by Robert Cohen