Meet Gracen Gerbig, ’20
Students First Scholarships reward the highest achieving students with scholarship support.
Gracen Gerbig, a major in cellular and molecular biology and 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 says receiving the Goldwater Scholarship allows her to focus even more on her research; she also says the money provided by the scholarship will be very valuable. She is working with Boston University and Tufts University on her current research project, which involves studying the epidemiology of staphylococci on Boston-area rats. Gracen says that she "fell into" this particular project, but she has 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 says 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."