Penn State Schreyer Honors scholars Kate Brizzi and Zachary Lebo were recently awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a competitive national award created by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater and to promote the study of the sciences, mathematics and engineering. Matthew A. Lohr, a third-year Schreyer Honors scholar double-majoring in physics and mathematics with a minor in theatre, received an honorable mention.
Brizzi, a junior majoring in bioengineering (chemical engineering option) with a minor in Italian, found a love for science and engineering in her high school biology and calculus classes, and she has been excelling in the fields ever since. She credits her biology and calculus teachers for helping to show her the depth of the material and making her feel that engineering was something at which she could excel. The Penn State Women in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) program helped Brizzi get involved in research early on and connected her with Neil Sharkey, professor of kinesiology, with whom she has worked with ever since.
The Goldwater is not the first scholarship for Brizzi, as she has previously been awarded the Sylvia Stein Memorial Space Grant Scholarship. Brizzi serves as the academic committee chair of the Schreyer Honors College Student Council, and helps organize a mentoring program for first-year Schreyer Honors scholars. She is co-chair of the Schreyer Honors College Thon Team, as well as a co-founder of the recently formed Students and Physicians Across Nations, a group that promotes awareness about international health issues. Brizzi also finds time to volunteer at Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Emergency Center.
Although Brizzi said that she was surprised to win, feeling that many other students were probably more qualified than she was, her faculty mentor disagreed.
“Kate is probably the most intelligent and well organized undergraduate that I have had work for me,” said Sharkey.
After earning a medical doctorate in the future, Brizzi said her goal ultimately is to end up at a teaching hospital, continuing to research and work clinically with patients.
Lebo, a junior double-majoring in meteorology and mathematics, is currently studying abroad at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Ever since visiting Europe in the summer of 2004, Lebo has wanted to return. Now in Prague, he says that he is having the best experience of his life.
Lebo is very excited about winning the Goldwater and is glad that the $7,500 scholarship will be able to help out with the expenses of studying aboard. Aside from the Goldwater, Lebo also has been awarded a scholarship from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State.
Lebo says that he has always had a drive to excel in school, but with the help of his many advisers and professors and the Schreyer Honors College, he has been able to go above and beyond what he ever could have imagined. In his earlier education, Lebo says, he simply never found the opportunities or helpful people that Penn State had to offer.
Lebo is active in the Campus Weather Service and helps provide local radio stations and Web sites with forecasts. Lebo also helped in raising funds for THON last year through the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He is a member of the AMS and also of their Penn State branch.
Lebo has been conducting research since last summer with Jerry Harrington, assistant professor of meteorology, on the effect of radiation on the lifetime of mixed-phase arctic stratus clouds. He plans to become a professor of meteorology at a nationally recognized research university. Such a position would allow Lebo to continue meteorological research and also teach future generations about the field of meteorology.
Brizzi and Lebo can be counted among the 4,885 total recipients of the scholarship since its inception in 1986, and among the 323 recipients for 2006.
From Penn State Live located at http://live.psu.edu/