The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded a Goldwater Scholarship to Ursinus College junior Dominic Castanzo, a Biology major with a minor in Biostatistics.
The prestigious Goldwater award supports students seeking careers in research in the sciences with an award of up to $7,500. Castanzo, of Clarks Summit, joins an Ursinus tradition of students winning this award – joining eight scholars in the last 10 years.
Castanzo said he may want to pursue a career as a professor at a liberal arts college. “I’ve exposed myself to both research and teaching opportunities (in the form of tutoring) here at Ursinus. I’m confident my time in grad school will help me decide on a career between industrial research and the research/teaching that comes with professorship,” he said.
“On behalf of the College, we congratulate Dominic on being named a Goldwater Scholar,” said President Bobby Fong. “It is a testament to his achievements and promise.”
Castanzo is one of 16 college students in Pennsylvania to be awarded the scholarship, which was awarded to 271 students nationwide this year. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
His research has been in the lab of Professor Rebecca Lyczak, investigating the role of the centrosome positioning in polarity establishment in C. elegans embryos through characterization of the pam-1 mutant. He continued this research as a Summer Fellow in 2012, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Also, in the lab of Professor Dale Cameron, Castanzo is investigating the role of molecular chaperones in the formation, propagation and toxicity of prions (infectious, self-propagating, misfolded proteins) in yeast.
He has presented his research at Haverford College and Thomas Jefferson University, and will be presenting this month at the MidAtlantic Developmental Biology Conference in Williamsburg, Va.
“Dom is a great student,” said Dr. Lyczak. “He works incredibly hard. He is always the first in the lab in the morning and the last to leave each day. He truly deserved this recognition,” she said.