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Student Receives UNCF/Merck Science Research Award

Creighton Student Receives UNCF/Merck Science Undergraduate Research Award

Creighton Arts and Sciences junior Jonathan Robert Saffold of Papillion, Neb., has been awarded a $25,000 Undergraduate Science Research Award from the United Negro College Fund/ Merck Science Initiative.Saffold is one of only 15 undergraduates nationwide chosen for the award.

“Jonathan is a hard-working student who puts much thought into his research. He has already gone well beyond passive participation to actively suggesting experiments that we hope to carry out in the lab,” said Eric Haas, Ph.D., his research mentor and an assistant professor of chemistry at Creighton.

Saffold graduated from high school halfway around the world at Yokota High School on Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. He transferred to Creighton from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when his parents moved from Japan to Papillion, to be closer to his family.

The son of a civilian employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Safford entered MIT as a freshman majoring in computer science and engineering. But he found the field less interesting to him than he had hoped and he became focused on medicine and medical research.

At Creighton, Safford says he has found his niche. “I’ve realized that I’m more interested in chemistry than medicine and would like to do research that has biomedical implications.”

Along with the $25,000 scholarship, Safford will spend the next two summers at the Merck Research Labs in West Point, Pa., working with a research group on an Alzheimer’s project, which will afford him the perfect chance to hone his interests in organic synthesis and drug design.

Saffold says he would like to earn a doctorate in Organic Chemistry and go on to teach and do research.