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Transylvania rising senior, Katharin Shaw, awarded Goldwater Scholarship; conducting summer research at Harvard

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Katharin Shaw, a graduate of Princess Anne High School’s International Baccalaureate Program has been named a Goldwater Scholar by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The prestigious award honors Shaw with a $7,500 scholarship for her senior year at Transylvania University.

“I’m really excited about receiving the award,” said Shaw. “I am thankful for the invaluable support provided by my family, friends and the faculty here at Transylvania.”

Transylvania chemistry professor Eva Csuhai encouraged Shaw to apply for the scholarship.

“Katharin constantly asks insightful questions about topics being covered, she is an essential player in all class discussions and she has a good vision of the intellectual potential of almost any issue we have discussed,” said Csuhai. 

“Katharin is a very easy learner who is able to apply concepts she just learned very quickly and efficiently. She will pay attention to every detail and give justice to all aspects of a subject. She is entirely self-motivated, sets very high standards for herself, and is generally able to live up to them.”

To fulfill the essay part of the application, Shaw modified her term paper for Csuhai’s class in which she proposed a means of using RNA interference to treat the disease Spinocerebellar Ataxia 7 (SCA7). “Her biochemistry research paper showed not only a full understanding of the class material, but also a pressing need on her part to explore new scientific questions, and use her existing knowledge to expand biochemical frontiers,” said Csuhai. “She was so inspired by the recent advances in RNAi technology that she has proposed several exciting potential medical applications, above and beyond the call of duty for this class.” 

This summer, Shaw is doing research at Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute under Dr. Ulrike Eggert, whose research is focused on characterizing the functions of proteins involved in cytokinesis.

As far as future goals, Shaw said she is “looking forward to attending graduate school in biochemistry or molecular biology after graduating from Transylvania, as my interests lie in rational drug design and in the therapeutic applications of RNAi.”

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded 321 scholarships nationally for the 2008-09 academic year. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by faculty members. The foundation is a federally endowed agency and the scholarship program is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 70 Rhodes Scholarships, 94 Marshall Awards and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

In addition to her studies and research plans, Shaw is an accomplished Scottish Highland dancer, which she has been practicing for nearly 14 years. She is now a licensed associate teacher and a member of the Scottish Dance Theater of Virginia.

A biology and chemistry double major, Shaw is the daughter of Gary and Agnes Shaw of Virginia Beach.

For more information, contact the public relations office at (859) 233-8120.

7/8/2008

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