A UT Arlington College of Science undergraduate who found her passion studying microorganisms and their role in ecology has been awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
Jessica Dawn Stevens, a junior majoring in microbiology and biology, is among just 11 students in Texas named as Goldwater Scholars for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Another student in the College of Science, Emmanuel Fordjour, was recognized as an honorable mention in this year’s competition. Stevens is UT Arlington’s third Goldwater Scholar since 2012.
“The Goldwater Scholars program is well known for identifying top-flight students with potential to make a lasting contribution to their research fields. Having three students chosen as Scholars in three consecutive years is a testament to the caliber of UT Arlington students and the quality of our academic and research programs,” said Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. “We are proud of Jessica and Emmanuel, and of the way that UT Arlington faculty members inspire our students to achieve their dreams."
The Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program awards scholarships to up to 300 incoming sophomores and juniors each year. It was established by federal legislation in 1986 to encourage excellence and fill the critical need for mathematicians, scientists and engineers. Each Goldwater Scholar receives up to $7,500 annually.
UT Arlington’s first Goldwater Scholar, Erica Castillo, majored in aerospace engineering and physics. She graduated in 2013 and went on to a job at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth. The University’s second honoree was Stevens’ husband, Elijah Stevens, who is now a senior majoring in mechanical engineering.
The Goldwater Scholars’ recognition spotlights the tradition of student excellence at UT Arlington, said Mahera “Mimi” Philobos, an assistant provost who oversees undergraduate research.
"This honor is a testimony to the caliber of our students and our relentless belief in their abilities,” Philobos said.
Jessica Dawn Stevens started at UT Arlington in 2010 as an architecture major, but a class in biology turned her attention toward natural sciences. She quickly became interested in doing research with College of Science professors.
Since then, she has worked in the laboratories of Matthew Walsh and Todd Castoe, both assistant professors of biology, and has helped study the asexual and sexual reproduction of Daphnia, a small crustacean that adapts