UNH Student Odin Achorn is a Recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

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UNH Student Odin Achorn, chemistry major, recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

DURHAM, N.H. (05/03/2013)(readMedia)-- Odin Achorn, a University of New Hampshire chemistry major from Newfields, was awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors.  Goldwater scholars receive up to $7,500 to offset the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.  Achorn is a member of the university's  honors program and recipient of donor-funded awards from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.

"The Hamel Center's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program is in its 26th year at UNH, helping students to learn the research process – from writing competitive research proposals, to practicing and developing skills that allow them to apply their in-class knowledge to practical, real-world issues," says Paul Tsang, director of the Hamel Center. "This is the kind of high-impact experience that we're proud to be able to offer to undergraduates in all majors, and we believe this kind of experience has helped  hard-working students to be recognized by the Goldwater scholarship committee. We're very pleased for the success.  It's well deserved."

UNH students have consistently experienced success in the Goldwater competition, which was established in 1986, but this year's results represent the university's best showing in the competition to date. In previous years, UNH has regularly had a winner and/or an honorable mention. This year is the first in which two UNH students have won the scholarship. Madelyn Ball, a chemical engineering student from Potsdam, New York, was also awarded a scholarship and sophomore Timothy Marquis received an honorable mention.

"I'm thrilled for the students, and delighted for the University," said Lisa MacFarlane, senior vice provost for academic affairs. "The Goldwater is a prestigious and extraordinarily competitive award for outstanding undergraduates interested in careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. This is a testament to the students' talent and hard work, to the terrific faculty who support and mentor them, and to the quality of UHN's superb programs in science and engineering."

Achorn has been working in the lab of Erik Berda, assistant professor of polymer and organic chemistry, since the summer of 2011 when he conducted research on atom transfer radical polymerization. "I am very pleased with the research opportunities that I have in Dr. Berda's group," he said. "I feel like I will already have a lot of research experience similar to graduate school by the time I start in a PhD program."

In 2012, Achorn received a Hamel Center Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), which allowed him to experiment with synthesizing nanoparticles in the hopes of finding ways to fold polymers into more well-defined shapes. He will be presenting the results of this research in New Orleans this month before embarking for a summer at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg, Switzerland, on an International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) grant from the Hamel Center.

Established by Congress in 1986 to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation operates an educational scholarship program to provide opportunities for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential. Goldwater scholarships support study in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences as preparation for careers in these areas. For more information, go to www.act.org/goldwater/.

Established in 2005, the UNH Office of National Fellowships provides information, counsel, and editorial support to high achieving students applying for national and international fellowships and scholarships. The services of the Fellowships Office are available to undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni. Contact Jeanne Sokolowski at (603) 862-0733 or jeanne.sokolowski@unh.edu or visit http://www.unh.edu/fellowships-office/.