Kent State Student Shasteen Honored as Goldwater Scholar
Hayley Shasteen, a junior from Berlin Center, Ohio, has a passion for research that led her to apply for a Goldwater scholarship. She is majoring in both molecular and cellular biology and psychology and considers research to be what she is most involved in at Kent State. She was first informed of research opportunities through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program, in which she participated last summer. The current focus of her research interest is an independent project on cognitive impairments in patients with lupus, an autoimmune disorder which may affect any part of the body. During the program, she ran a longitudinal study investigating subjective cognitive complaints in individuals with lupus, and she is currently conducting a follow-up study based on that research. It was recently announced that Hayley is now a Goldwater scholar.
To apply for the Goldwater Scholarship, she had to write multiple personal essays, which Hayley says provided the interesting opportunity to give a lot of conscious thought as to why she is so dedicated to research. She has a personal connection to the subject: she and her mother both have lupus. As much as she enjoys presenting research at conferences, she says these events are more focused on the results of the studies than they are on the stories behind them. According to Hayley, it was nice to be able to vocalize that aspect of her interest on the scholarship application, because discussing what motivates her to conduct her research can be just as enjoyable as presenting the results.
Hayley is currently working with her faculty advisor to compose a manuscript of the research she conducted over the summer and its results, which she hopes to submit for publication by the end of April. This spring, she will present her work at Kent State’s Undergraduate Research Symposium as well as at the Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO) Conference. She is conducting a replication study about which she plans to write another research paper, and she is hopeful that she will receive good results.
For students who may be interested in applying for a Goldwater Scholarship, Hayley recommends reaching out to Frank Congin of the Honors College, with whom she worked directly throughout the process of completing the application. She also advises interested students to get involved in research early in their college career and to pursue multiple opportunities so that they can figure out and articulate what projects interest them most.
By winning a Goldwater, Hayley does not think that it will affect her career direction as much as it will relieve some of the financial pressure of attending college—she works three jobs in addition to pursuing her education—and allow her to focus even more on continuing her research. She also views the scholarship opportunity as a good gateway into graduate school, to which she plans to apply in the future.