Three Students Win 2016 Goldwater Scholarships

Issue Date: 
April 11, 2016

Three University of Pittsburgh students have been awarded 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships. Pitt juniors Patrick A. Asinger, Natalie R. Dall, and Charles J. Hansen were honored for their research in chemical engineering and molecular biology. Junior Ethan A. Garcia-Baker received a 2016 Goldwater honorable mention designation.

The Goldwater Scholarship, established in 1986 by the U.S. Congress and named for then-Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, supports outstanding students who are pursuing careers in the fields of engineering, mathematics, and the natural sciences. The award—granted in either a student’s sophomore or junior year—assists in covering the costs of books, room and board, and tuition for each student’s remaining period of study.

Institutions can nominate as many as four students per year for the scholarship. This is the fourth consecutive year that all of Pitt’s nominees have received either the scholarship or an honorable mention designation. Pitt students have now won a total of 47 Goldwater Scholarships since 1996.

“The University of Pittsburgh is immensely proud of our four 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship nominees as well as Pitt’s continued success in this prestigious, highly competitive awards competition. Our track record is a testament to the high quality of our students as well as the strength of our institution,” said University Honors College Dean Edward M. Stricker. “Our Goldwater Scholars will use their scholarships to further hone their skills as researchers in the chemical engineering and molecular biology fields. They all have admirable aspirations to use those skills for the betterment of society, and we applaud and support their noble pursuits.”

Pitt’s 2016 Goldwater Scholarship honorees study within the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and Swanson School of Engineering.  

Patrick A. Asinger

Patrick A. AsingerA native of Bradford, Pa., Patrick A. Asinger majors in chemical engineering, and he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the field upon graduation in 2017. Asinger’s research centers on improved renewable energy conversion and storage, including the development of catalyst systems that can convert carbon dioxide into fuel sources on a large scale.

His undergraduate research has been performed in the laboratory of Götz Veser, the Swanson School’s Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. This summer, Asinger will conduct research through the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

He has been an organic chemistry teaching assistant, an outreach coordinator for the American Chemical Society, and a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World and the Chemical Engineering Honor Society. He is a recipient of Pitt’s University Scholarship as well as the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) RISE Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service.

Natalie R. Dall

Natalie R. Dall

Natalie R. Dall is the incoming Student Government Board president. A native of Loveland, Ohio, she is majoring in molecular biology and will pursue a doctorate in biology after graduation in 2017. She plans to focus her professional research on evolutionary and developmental biology, studying such human developmental disorders as neural tube closure and spina bifida. Eventually, she hopes to establish her own laboratory at a major research institution. 

Dall has worked for the past two years in the lab of Mark Rebeiz, an assistant professor of evolutionary development within the Department of Biological Sciences. Her work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Cell.

She has been an active member of numerous campus organizations, including the Student Government Board and the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. She is a recipient of the Norman H. Horowitz Fellowship and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Mentor/Mentee Fellowship. 

Charles J. Hansen

Charles J. HansenA native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Charles J. Hansen is majoring in chemical engineering, and he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the field after his 2017 graduation. His research focuses on clean energy production and energy storage. He has worked closely with the Swanson School’s Daniel Cole, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, and Götz Veser. His work has been published in Ingenium, the Swanson School’s undergraduate research publication.

This summer, Hansen will continue his energy research as an Amgen Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. Among his other awards are the Swanson School’s John W. Tierney Scholarship and the Edward B. Stuart and Geraldine J. Stuart Memorial Scholarship. He was an active member of the American Nuclear Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Hansen also served as a peer advisor on Pitt’s Freshman Engineering Leadership Team.

Ethan A. Garcia-Baker

Goldwater honorable mention designee Ethan A. Garcia-Baker is pursing triple majors in neuroscience, history, and philosophy of science. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computational biology and genomics upon his graduation in 2017. His research focus is human genomics technology and the development of tools to diagnose psychiatric disorders.