DNR Undergrads Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Two students involved in Natural Resources have been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship, along with two additional Cornell students. Carter Loftus, ’14 majors in Biology (with a concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior) and in Natural Resources (with a concentration in Applied Ecology).  He is involved in research on honeybee behavior with Tom Seeley, has done field research on wild dolphin acoustic communication, and volunteers at Cornell’s Center for Animal Resources and Education socializing dogs used in research. Devin McMahon, ’14, is a Biology major who was a research and extension intern in the Department of Natural Resources under Kristi Sullivan and Steve Morreale, collecting data related to forest management and natural gas pipelines as well as studying salamander populations as indicators of forest floor health.

The Goldwater Scholarship is a national award that supports college sophomores and juniors who intend careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering.  Recipients are selected based on academic merit and research experience.  The sponsoring foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater.  The scholarship provides $7500 toward tuition, fees, books, room, and board.

You may view the entire list of scholars at http://www.act.org/goldwater/sch-2013.html.  This year was more competitive than ever with only 271 scholarships awarded (as opposed to the usual 300+); there were 1,107 applicants from across the country.


DNR and K-12 Students Success Stories

Several Department of Natural Resources Faculty and staff have been fostering engagement with K-12 education. See below for several examples of this engagement.

  • For the past two years, Dr. Rebecca Schneider has served as one of the science mentors for students at Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, NY.  The INTEL science internship program, lead by Ms. Kim Dyer, pairs each student with a researcher, either university or industry based, and over a 2 yr period, the researcher works with a student through the different steps of a research project.
  • Dr. Rebecca Schneider has been working with Steven Kalayam (now a graduating senior) investigating how improving desertifying soils with organic matter amendments will reduce water runoff. This project is a small offshoot of a project that a broader Cornell team is conducting in the Ningxia Autonomous Region of China. Specifically, Steve Kalayem measured and compared runoff curves from a soil microcosm containing soils with and without organic matter at 0 and 5% slopes. The project was aided by the generous loan of the rainfall simulator/ Robert Schindelbeck dripper from Dr. Harold van Es’s lab.
  • China soil team members include Drs. Rebecca Schneider, Harold van Es, Steve Morreale, Ruth Sherman, James Lassoie at  Cornell and Dr. Changxiao Li and Director Jian Li in China
  • Steven Kalayam’s project:

a) was the Grand Prize Winner at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair,

b) won the US Stockholm Junior Water Prize Regional Award,

c) won the NOAA regional “Taking the Pulse of the Planet” award, and

d) also won honorable mention at the International Sustainable World (Engineering, Energy & Environment) Olympiad in Texas.