Margaret Larsen ’21 Lands Competitive Goldwater Scholarship

head and shoulder image of a female college student with shoulder-length brown hair

Margaret Larsen ’21, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Mandeville, LA, has been selected as a 2019 Goldwater Scholar from a field of 1,223 sophomores and juniors nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

Established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Larsen is among the 496 scholarship winners chosen this year.

“The scholarship will allow me to further my education and continue to pursue enriching research opportunities. I am truly honored to have received this award,” she says. “I owe thanks to the Roberts lab at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, my professors at Rhodes, and my family for the support and guidance they provide me. I also want to thank my advisor and St. Jude mentor, Dr. Elaine Frawley, who has always pushed me to think critically about science and my research from the beginning of my college career.”

Larsen has gained valuable laboratory experience and learned from top scientists in the field of molecular oncology as a St. Jude Summer Plus Fellow. Under the guidance of Dr. Charles Roberts and Dr. Yiannis Drosos, she currently is researching malignant rhabdoid tumors to help determine how these cells become resistant to therapeutics. They plan to publish data from the research by the end of the summer. 

“Margaret is a curious and dedicated student-researcher who has really grown as a scientist during her first two years at Rhodes,” says Dr. Elaine Frawley, assistant professor of biology at Rhodes. “We have both learned from each other during her St. Jude Summer Plus experience. I am so pleased that the Goldwater Scholarship committee has recognized Margaret’s talent and passion for research with this award.  I look forward to learning about her future discoveries and in graduate school.”

After graduating from Rhodes, Larsen is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer biology and conducting research in molecular oncology at a top institution to better understand the biology behind cancer in order to improve treatment methods and increase survival rates.