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Kirsti Martinez, junior

CAS student receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

TAMPA, Fla. -- Kirsti Martinez of the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate award for science research. Martinez is one of only 260 undergraduate sophomores and juniors in the United States to receive the $7,500 scholarship in the 2015-2016 academic year. Applicants must write a rigorous research proposal as part of their application. The award can be used for educational expenses including research support. Additionally, Martinez is USF’s first Goldwater recipient in another region – she was nominated and won in Wisconsin, her home state.

Martinez is an Honors College junior, double majoring in environmental biology and environmental science and policy. She is currently participating in research on soil analysis with professor David Lewis. Martinez also is working on her Honors College thesis in Dr. Lewis’ lab, determining how leaf litter and leaf litter drift composition might affect soil properties. As part of Dr. Luanna Prevost’s Integrative Biology Lab, Martinez participates in research on Biology Education that assesses how biology and ecology are taught at the undergraduate level. Martinez will be presenting some of her current research at the upcoming USF Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium.

Additionally, Martinez is an active member and current president of the Student Environmental Association. As president, she has focused the organizations efforts on community involvement with Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful, local organic farms and USF's Stampede of Service. Martinez also helped lead the revival of RecycleMania this spring, a recycling awareness program where the SEA partnered with the Patel College of Global Sustainability. Through RecycleMania, Martinez helped run drives, workshops and a community service day to help revive the spirit of recycling and resource sustainability at USF. Kirsti was also a recent member of the Student Green Energy Fund Council, a board of students and administrators that votes on student-proposed green energy projects.

Martinez wishes to pursue a masters' degree and eventually a Ph.D. in plant ecology, specializing in forest or freshwater ecosystems. She is eager to use the research from these experiences to be relevant to environmental issues, and she hopes to pursue a career where she can continue her research related to subtle plant functions and interactions.

The Office of National Scholarships identifies, recruits and mentors high-achieving students to apply for national merit scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are for creative, motivated and academically strong students who are leaders in and out of the classroom.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Student Success Integrative Biology   
Author:Lauren Chambers, MPH