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Creighton Students Named Goldwater Scholars

Three Creighton students have been selected as 2014 Goldwater Scholars in recognition of their academic achievements in the natural sciences. Named were Patrick Thomas Bruck, Jennifer Hartjes and Emma Ruth Hoppe. The awards place Creighton in an elite group of 25 private institutions across the country that in the past five years have produced seven or more scholars, as well as the No. 1 producer in Catholic universities during that same time period. Creighton has had 15 Goldwater scholars in the past 11 years. The Goldwater Scholarship provides up to $7,500 annually for undergraduate study.

“At Creighton students work side by side with faculty in the research process and benefit from our Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURAS). The center coordinates support and scholarship programs for faculty and students involved in undergraduate research projects and communicates those activities to the community,” said Julianne Strauss-Soukup, Ph.D., CURAS director.

Patrick Thomas Bruck, a sophomore and native of Manilla, Iowa, is majoring in biology. He plans to earn a doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology and conduct research on infectious diseases and treatment development. At Creighton, he has worked on two separate research projects. One deals with developing novel prophylactic HIV-1 treatments using nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery to increase prevention efficacy. Employing nanoparticles increases drug delivery to cells and allows individuals to use lower dosage medications, causing less harm to the patient’s body. He is investigating numerous antiretroviral drugs both individually and in combination, to examine their cytotoxicity, drug delivery and efficacy in preventing HIV-1 when loaded into nanoparticles.

He is also involved in research that focuses on better understanding of the life cycle of HIV and the proteins it uses. Learning more about the poorly understood aspects of HIV replication may reveal new targets for antiretroviral therapies, thus providing new options for treating drug-resistant strains of HIV.

Bruck also serves as treasurer of Phi Sigma Biological Honor Society and the Biology Club, and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Magis Ambassadors and FACE AIDS.

Hartjes, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., is majoring in biochemistry and hopes to earn a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry, conduct research in molecular nutrition and teach at a university level.

Her research project has focused on creating dental materials that can help prevent the demineralization of tooth enamel. She has worked on formulating microcapsules to add to dental materials such as toothpaste, that can release ions to prevent tooth decay.

Hartjes is also the co-captain of the women’s tennis team, a member of the Honors Program, a CURAS ambassador and a volunteer for Tennis Buddies (a Special Olympics program in Nebraska).

Emma Hoppe’s research focuses on tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP), a protein important in embryogenesis and cancer metastasis. Her first project is a developmental/molecular genetics study of one of the mechanisms in TIMP. The second is a study of the evolution of the protein in vertebrates. The Lincoln, Neb. native is a junior majoring in biology.

She is the vice president for academics on the Honors Program Student Advisory Board, a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences Student Senate and a student advisor for the Campus Planning Committee.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.