News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Search: or

Press Release


Media Contact

Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications

Two Reed juniors receive prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for chemistry and biochemistry

PORTLAND, OR (May 5, 2005) - Reed College juniors Julia Robinson and Will Draper have recently been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.   Junior Andre Bach also received an honorable mention from the program.   Since 1991, nineteen Reed students have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships.

This prestigious scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed as a way to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.  

A junior chemistry major from Vancouver, Washington, Julia Robinson plans to pursue a Ph. D. in synthetic organic chemistry, with the hopes of conducting research in the pharmaceutical industry on natural product synthesis, and to continue her research at the academic level. "The classes of compounds I am most interested in are drugs and explosives. I like organic lab work better than inorganic lab work, so I have decided to focus on pharmaceuticals (in the form of natural products) for my career while leaving explosives as more of a hobby. It is probably a good thing I don't have time for a hobby!"

Will Draper, a junior biochemistry major from Baltimore, Maryland, plans on conducting research, pursuing his Ph. D. in plant biochemistry, and ultimately teaching in a field of specialization at the university level. "Plant biochemistry interests me because it is an area from which we have much to learn, but where there is very little actual research.   Plants are basically little biochemical machines which have evolved all sorts of interesting and complex pathways to synthesize what are often quite useful products to humans. Most drugs come from either a plant or a fungus, while most research goes into animals.   I'm also interested in plants because they represent the major terrestrial primary producer."

Last year Draper received an award for undergraduate research on plants for a project entitled "heterologous expression of soybean root nodule GSTs in e. coli," and as part of the award, became a temporary member of the ASPB (American Society of Plant Biologists).   This summer he will be conducing research on a leafy liverwort/ cyanobacterial symbiosis in old growth Douglas Fir forests, looking at nitrogen fixation.

This year, the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation selected 320 undergraduate sophomores and juniors on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,091 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

As Professor Virginia Hancock, chair of the Fellowships and Awards Committee, explains, "the Reed students who receive Goldwater scholarships are exactly the kind the foundation looks for.  They have very high academic achievement, experience in and a desire to continue in original research, and strong letters of recommendation from faculty members and research supervisors that document their achievement, experience, and goals."

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic qualifications, garnering them the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. In recent years, Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 58 Rhodes Scholarships, 72 Marshall Awards (6 of the 40 awarded in the United States in 2005), and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

The 2004-2005 Goldwater Scholars consist of 165 men, and 155 women.   Practically all plan on obtaining Ph.D.s as their degree objective. Twenty-seven Scholars are mathematics majors, 239 are science majors, 45 are majoring in engineering, and 9 are computer science related majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, please consult the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation website at


Reed College
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit .