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From left to right: Emma Keeler, Michele Meline, and Max Wragan were awarded the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship for future research careers.

Three Penn students have been awarded the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship for future research careers.

The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to sophomores and juniors who intend to earn a Ph.D. or master’s degree in a STEM field and are interested in research in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. College sophomore Emma Keeler and College juniors Michele Meline and Max Wragan were among the 410 students in the United States who received the scholarship, Penn Today reported. Each student is awarded up to $7,500 for up to two years of undergraduate study.

Keeler is pursuing a concurrent bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology or virology and apply her research relating to infectious diseases to diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. 

Meline is on track to receive an undergraduate dual degree in biochemistry and biophysics with a minor in Hispanic studies while also submatriculating to earn a master’s degree in chemistry. She hopes to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in biochemistry and study genomic based therapies for disease.

Meline was motivated to apply to the scholarship by a desire to find community with other students in STEM fields.

“As a woman of color, I don’t have an intrinsic community or line of guidance in this field, so I applied with the hopes of gaining a community that could help navigate this career that I’m interested in,” Meline said.

Wragan is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in chemistry. She hopes to pursue a M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience to pursue translational research, specifically relating to traumatic brain injury. 

“It’s really important to consider the patient perspective and see what are the things that really matter to them so you can redirect your research,” Wragan said.

Penn nominates up to five students for the scholarship each year through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.