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  • MSUM's 9th Goldwater award in 11 years
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  • MSUM's 9th Goldwater award in 11 years

    Biology student among 282 in nation awarded Goldwater Scholarship

    MSU Moorhead junior Amy Moorhouse was among 282 students from across the nation selected to receive a $7,500 award from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
     
    Moorhouse is a biology major with an emphasis in ecology and evolutionary biology and a minor in geosciences. She is the daughter of Robert and Mary Moorhouse, White Bear Lake, Minn.

    She was selected from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science and engineering scholars who were nominated by faculty members from colleges and universities throughout the country.
     
    Moorhouse is the ninth MSUM student in the past 11 years to receive a Goldwater Scholarship.

    “The Goldwater Scholarship program recognizes and honors hardworking students like Amy, who when compared to their peers at a national level, have demonstrated very strong potential, and the passion, to become successful and productive scientists,” said Dean Michelle Malott, MSUM’s College of Social and Natural Sciences. “MSUM has a rich history of Goldwater Scholars. This is a result not only of the strong academic potential of our students and the exciting research opportunities offered by our faculty, but in large part to the fantastic mentoring these faculty provide our students as part of their commitment to student success.”    

    As an honors apprentice scholar, Moorhouse has been doing faculty-mentored and independent research since her freshman year at MSUM.

    “At most schools you need to be an upper-level student to do research, but I’ve been doing research since my freshman year,” Moorhouse said. “It’s a great opportunity to graduate with four years of hands-on research experience. I’ve grown a lot as a scientist through the research projects I’ve done and have applied it to my areas of interest.” 

    Moorhouse’s research interests include plant and insect interactions, natural ecosystems and understanding the potential loss of these environments due to climate change. She’s presented at MSUM’s student academic conference on trichome density in Cabbage White Butterfly larval growth; the effects of exotic earthworms on Big Bluestem prairie plants; and her next research project will be on the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant-pollinator interactions on tallgrass prairie remnants.

    “Amy has explored a variety of projects in my lab for the past two-and-a-half years, instigating a new project each year with the personal goal of learning as much as she can about plant ecology, while simultaneously developing her skills in experimental design and analysis,” said Alison Wallace, MSUM biology professor and Moorhouse’s advisor. “Amy’s increasing autonomy as her research projects have become more and more of her own designs are confirming my suspicions that she has what it takes to become a successful scientist in any specialty area of her choosing.”

    MSUM’s success in producing Goldwater Scholars and future scientists is directly related to engaging students early and often in the scientific process and supporting their work through faculty mentorship.

    Moorhouse was a Goldwater Scholar honorable mention last year. This summer she will participate in a National Science Foundation summer internship at Blandy Experimental Farm in Virginia. She’ll work with a faculty mentor at the University of Virginia, where she will likely continue her research with plant ecology.

    “I will present my findings to the science community at Blandy, with the potential for my work to be published in a peer-reviewed journal,” Moorhouse said. She eventually plans to get a Ph.D. in ecology and to continue conducting research.  

    The scholarship program honoring Sen. Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. It’s the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields, and covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has awarded 6,200 scholarships worth approximately $39 million.