Goldwater Nominees

MSUM students Bridgett Grosz and MaryJo Nelson have been nominated for the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is a highly competitive national award for students pursuing a career in science, mathematics or engineering. Nominations for this scholarship are based on students’ academic performance, involvement in research, and plans to pursue postgraduate degrees. 

A senior researcher in an experimental petrology research group, Bridgett is majoring in geosciences and minoring in astronomy. The Bismarck, N.D, native works at MSUM’s Regional Science Center, assisting Professor Karl Leonard with research, drone mapping, and mollusk fossil lab work. She also works with MSUM Planetarium Director Sara Shultz to create planetary volcanology shows. 

Bridgett has recently begun research in the relationship of lead in soil near Highway 10, using an XRF analyzer gun, a new tool in the department. She has always had a passion for science and conducting experiments, so she was excited to take advantage of the research opportunities MSUM offers. After graduating, Bridgett plans to pursue a Ph.D. in planetary volcanology.

A graduate from West Fargo High School, MaryJo Nelson is double majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology and film production. On campus, MaryJo is involved in the Geospatial Ecology Lab, where she participates in fieldwork and writes grants.

During her first semester at MSUM, MaryJo completed a bird banding assignment for an ecology class, which inspired her current research on the phenomenon of Merlins, a small species of falcon. She designed the research study, built maps in ArcGIS, conducted field research, and provided preliminary analyses. She later presented her findings at MSUM and the Raptor Research Foundation Conference.

Winners of the Goldwater Scholarship are expected to be announced at the end of March.

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