2012 Goldwater Scholars

Two RIT undergraduates, Kimbria Blake from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Colin Axel from Farmington, New York have been named 2012 Goldwater Scholars.  Samuel Kennedy, a junior Applied Mathematics major, from Bristol, Connecticut, received an honorable mention.  The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award for students interested in pursuing a career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.  The award is based on academic merit, and virtually all winners plan on pursuing a Ph.D. Many have extensive undergraduate research experience as well.  This year, 282 sophomores and juniors were selected from 1,123 nominees.  The $7,500 per year scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board.  Goldwater Scholars compose an elite group with 78 Rhodes Scholarships, 112 Marshall Awards, and 104 Churchhill Scholarships being awarded to past Goldwater Scholars.  Three past RIT Goldwater Scholars have recently won NSF Predoctoral Fellowships.


Colin Axel, a junior majoring in Imaging Science, will receive $7500 for his senior year.  Colin has conducted research in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at RIT, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Vodacek and currently with Dr. Carl Salvaggio, both projects involving remote sensing, the first modeling algae growth in Lake Ontario, and the second involving remotely determining the weight of a passing vehicle.  Colin also participated in a summer REU at the University of Kansas studying ice sheets through remote sensing.  Colin plans to obtain his Ph.D. in Imaging Science with a focus on remote sensing, and plans to both teach and conduct research in the areas of environmental remote sensing, LIDAR, and emergency response to natural disasters.  Colin’s accolades include: a SMART grant, RIT Presidential Scholarship, Omnova Scholarship, Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholarship, and a Carlson Imaging Excellence Award.  Colin is also in the RIT four year Honors Program.  Colin’s other activities include involvement in Habitat for Humanity, the Academic Conduct Committee, the Outing Club, and Intramural Sports.


Kimbria Blake, a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry, will receive $15,000 over the next two years.  Kimbria has been conducting research with Dr. Suzanne O’Handley in the Department of Chemistry at RIT, since the summer prior to her freshman year, as part of the RIT honors program.  Her research entails the characterization of an enzyme from yeast and comparison of that enzyme to the homologous virulence factor in the pathogen Staph aureus.  She has already presented her work at the National Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in her freshman year.  Kimbria plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Microbiology or Biochemistry, and envisions a research career in Infectious Disease.  Kimbria already has a number of honors and awards including: an RIT Presidential Scholarship, both the freshman and sophomore awards from the Chemistry Department, and several research fellowships: a COS Summer Research Fellowship, a COS Chemistry / Materials Science Research Fellowship, and an American Society of Microbiology Summer Research Fellowship.  She is also in the RIT four-year Honors Program and is an RIT Chemistry Research Scholar.  Kimbria is a member of the RIT ASBMB student affiliates and the RIT intervarsity fellowship, and also a tutor and teaching assistant for the Chemistry Department.


Samuel Kennedy, a junior Applied Mathematics major, from Bristol, Connecticut, received an honorable mention.