Rhodes College junior Pryce Michener is among 252 sophomores and juniors nationwide selected as Goldwater Scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year. Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Barry M. Goldwater, a five-term United States senator, the Goldwater Foundation provides scholarships to highly qualified college students who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. Students cannot apply for the scholarship, but rather must be nominated by their institutions. Sophomores Ellie Fratt, who is majoring in neuroscience, and Jennifer Loome, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, were awarded honorable mentions.
A biology major from Lawton, OK, Michener has been conducting research with Dr. Rachel Jabaily since his first year at Rhodes. His work involves bioinformatics, which uses computer science and mathematics to analyze and interpret genetic data for testing evolutionary hypotheses. In addition, he has conducted summer field research on plants in Western Australia.
Says Jabaily, “Pryce is an exemplary liberal arts student, and has shown outstanding creativity, intelligence, and perseverance throughout all our work together. I am very proud of him for earning the Goldwater.”
Michener participated in Auburn University’s annual Bioinformatics Bootcamp in the summer of 2015, and he will present his work at several conferences this coming summer. He also is co-author of a paper published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. After graduating from Rhodes, he plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. dual degree, focusing on evolutionary medicine.
“The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to the brightest, most promising undergraduates studying STEM across the United States,” says Dr. Larryn Peterson, assistant professor of chemistry at Rhodes and the Goldwater faculty representative. “From the time Pryce stepped onto the Rhodes campus, he has sought opportunities to indulge his curiosity and develop his passion. It’s no wonder that he was awarded this prestigious scholarship for his outstanding academic performance and his research with Prof. Jabaily.”
Michener is a graduate of Lawton High School in Oklahoma.
(l-r) Ellie Fratt, Pryce Michener, Jennifer Loome