Biochemistry student receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Aidan Miller is a recipient of undergraduate award given to students to pursue a career in research

Aidan Miller

Aidan Miller, a recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, has presented his research at numerous meetings and symposiums. The scholarship is in recognition of his work and plans in research.

RIT third-year biochemistry student Aidan Miller has been awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate research scholarship in the United States, given to students pursuing a career in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering.

Miller, who is from Rochester, N.Y., is one of 438 recipients out of 1,353 nominees. The award is based on academic merit and research experience and is an on-going partnership between the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs, UWorld, and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

“I’m very honored to receive this award,” said Miller. “It’s very competitive. It makes me feel really good about the work that I’ve done in research.”

Miller has conducted research in the laboratories of Lea Michel, professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science, and George Thurston, professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy, since his first year at RIT. Most recently, he has studied the biochemical and biophysical analyses of cataract-causing mutations in certain proteins through NMR spectroscopy and light-scattering. He presented this research at the national meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2024 and the RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2023. He presented his previous research on the analysis of clinically relevant antibiotics’ effectiveness on sepsis-related E. Coli at the American Chemical Society North Eastern Regional meeting in 2022 and the Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2022.

After graduating from RIT, Miller plans to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biology, continuing research in virology and vaccinology with a specific focus on HIV. He would like to return to academia after that to conduct research and to teach at the university level.

“I started wanting to go into infectious disease research,” explained Miller. “HIV is something that has had a big impact on a lot of people I know and love, so that pushed me in that direction.”

Miller is a member of the RIT Honors Program and the Chemistry Research Scholars Program. He is a tutor in the RIT Academic Success Center, which helped develop his love for teaching. He is the recipient of a RIT Presidential Scholarship, an Emerson Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and a School of Chemistry and Materials Science Outstanding Second Year Award. Miller also volunteers his time as a mentor, orientation leader, student panelist, and department tour guide.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 in honor of its namesake who served as a soldier and a statesman for 56 years. The organization aims to produce high-quality professionals in critical fields by providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors working toward research careers.

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