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Three Duke Students Awarded Goldwater Scholarships

DURHAM, N.C. -- Three Duke University students have been selected for Goldwater Scholarships in science, mathematics and engineering for the 2008-09 academic year.They were among 321 sophomores and juniors chosen on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science and engineering students nationwide. Three of Duke’s four nominees were selected. The award provides up to $7,500 toward annual tuition and expenses.

Duke’s Goldwater Scholars are Mark Hallen, Nicholas Patrick and engineering student Daniel Roberts. Duke’s fourth nominee, engineer Stephen DeVience, received an honorable mention. They are all juniors. Sixty-seven Duke students have been named Goldwater Scholars since the program was implemented in 1988.

“Each of these students is creating and applying robust mathematical and computational models to the solution of problems in their respective disciplines,” said Mary Nihjout, associate dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. “Their work exemplifies the trends in modern science and in engineering design, specifically the application of quantitative models to extend our understanding of biology, chemistry and physics.”

Roberts, a junior from Melville, N.Y., is a student in the Pratt School of Engineering majoring in electrical and computer engineering and in physics. He conducts research in the laboratory of David Smith, Augustine Scholar and associate professor in the Pratt School of Engineering. Roberts is exploring the use of practical innovations in transformation optics and concepts of metamaterials.

“The many envisioned applications of transformation optics include various types of invisibility cloaks and electromagnetic concentrators,” Roberts said.

He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics and to design and implement electromagnetic devices that can be applied commercially.

DeVience, of Chicago, is double majoring in biomedical engineering and chemistry. Under the mentorship of Lingchong You and Hunt Willard in the Institute for Genome Science and Policy, DeVience is developing several versions of mathematical models that have contributed to a study of mammalian X chromosome behavior.

Hallen, a junior from Cary, N.C., is double majoring in chemistry and mathematics. He has co-authored two publications with his mentor, professor Sharyn Endow, and colleagues in the Department of Cell Biology. His current research involves applying mathematical techniques to studies of the structure of proteins in their natural, rather than artificial, environments.

“Methods to study these problems in vivo are likely to be instrumental in the future development of our understanding of biology, as well as medicine, biotechnology and other applications that may be developed,” Hallen said.

Hallen plans to pursue a doctoral degree, specializing in the field of mathematical modeling.

Patrick, a junior from Bel Air, Md., is majoring in computer science, with specific interests in structural biology and bioinformatics. With his mentor Bruce Donald, the William and Sue Gross Professor of Computer Science and Biochemistry, Patrick is devising and refining computational methods for nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of protein structure.

“These experiments have applications to biological research and structure-based drug design,” Patrick said.

He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computational biology and to become either a university researcher or a scientist in a biotechnology company.

The scholarship program honoring the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Foundation’s announcement and list of scholars can be found at <>.