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Two Creighton Students Awarded Goldwater Scholarships

Two Creighton Students Named Goldwater Scholars

Two Creighton University undergraduate students, Michael T. Davidson and Anya Burkart, have been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for 2010.

The Goldwater Scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for the final one or two years of undergraduate study and is awarded to outstanding students who plan to pursue careers in natural science, mathematics or engineering. More than 1,100 applicants sought the scholarship this year, but only 278 were awarded on the basis of academic merit.

"This year’s winners showed a desire to be challenged. Mike and Anya took on tasks in the areas where they saw potential for growth rather than limiting their focus to the areas where they already excelled. This is a trait that Creighton tries to foster in student research," said Physics Professor Michael Cherney, Creighton faculty representative for the Goldwater.

Burkart, of Monument, Colo., is a junior with a double major in physics and German. She has been a member of the biophysical optics research group since 2008 and collected and analyzed data on cell elasticity using an optical stretcher under the supervision of Creighton Physics Professor Mike Nichols.

She presented her research at the 2009 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Yale University and the 2009Nebraska Academy of Science and at the 2010 Biophysical Society Meeting in San Francisco earlier this year. She served as a RISE (Research in Science Education) Science Scholar and completed a paid summer internship at the Universitat des Saarlandes, in Saarbrucken, Germany. Burkhart is also a Clare Boothe Luce Women in Science scholar at Creighton. She plans to attend graduate school in the United States or Germany to earn a doctorate in biological physics.

Davidson, a native of Kearney Neb., now living in Omaha, is a junior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in biology. He has served as a research assistant in the Department of Chemistry since 2009 and has received a Dean's Scholarship of Undergraduate Summer Research and a Ferlic Scholarship for Undergraduate Research. His research is focused on the development of a novel technique to remineralize tooth enamel under the supervision of chemistry professor Stephen Gross, Ph.D. Upon graduation from Creighton, Davidson plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D degree and ultimately translational research in oncology.