Photo of student (Gracen) posed and smiling for the camera
Prioritizing Student Success
Rewarding Achievement Scholarships

Goldwater Scholarship Recipient

Gracen Gerbig, ’20, majored in cellular and molecular biology with a minor in public health, thought that the Goldwater Scholarship "seemed like a perfect fit" for her from the time she first heard about it. She saw the scholarship as a representation of the goals she has been working toward throughout her Kent State career and that it aligned very well with what she has been pursuing.

Gracen said receiving the Goldwater Scholarship allowed her to focus even more on her research and the financial support from the scholarship was very valuable. She worked on a research project with Boston University and Tufts University that involved studying the epidemiology of staphylococci on Boston-area rats. Gracen said that she "fell into" this particular project, but she had been interested in studying germs, bacteria, and sickness her whole life. Her dedication to research will be applicable to her as she pursues her desired career, either in academia or as a research primary investigator.

The application for the Goldwater requires multiple essays, which Gracen said inspired her to reflect on how she became interested in her chosen areas of research, from childhood into her current pursuits, as well as to consider what she is working toward and what she wants to accomplish in the future. 

For students interested in applying for a Goldwater Scholarship, she recommends sorting through their thoughts now and suggests making a "mind map" of where they currently are in their research, what their goals are, and how they can accomplish those goals. She also stresses the importance of keeping ahead of deadlines and, equally important, encourages prospective applicants to "stay involved in research and keep going for it."


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