Two Northern Arizona University students have been named national Goldwater Scholars, making this the fourth year in a row NAU has been represented and the third year with multiple scholarship winners. This prestigious award provides scholarships to undergraduates who intend to pursue research in their chosen field of natural sciences, mathematics or engineering.
Third-year student Beau Prince, studying mathematics, physics and astronomy, and sophomore Breezy Brock, studying microbiology, were selected from 1,343 students nationwide who were nominated. Only 396 are selected.
“What an honor it is to have our Lumberjacks recognized for their exceptional talent and commitment to research and discovery,” NAU President Rita Cheng said. “I could not be more proud of these Lumberjacks, and I am excited to see what wonderful things they accomplish in the future.”
Meet NAU’s Goldwater Scholars:
After watching the movie “Apollo 13,” 8-year-old Prince was convinced he wanted to be an astronaut. He also considered a career as a firefighter, journalist or professional runner, but his curiosity about the solar system kept calling him.
“After my freshman year at Northern Arizona University, I contacted several of the astronomy and physics labs to see if I could volunteer,” Prince said. “I didn’t have a grand idea yet, but I wanted badly to learn something—anything—more about the universe that wouldn’t be covered in my introductory physics classes. I was able to join the PEAXS lab under Mark Loeffler, where I was immediately put to work performing pulsed laser irradiation experiments.”
Loeffler is Prince’s mentor.
As a volunteer, Prince committed to learning as much as he could about space weathering and how to design and conduct effective experiments.
He plans to earn a Ph.D. in physics and conduct lab-based astrophysical research as university faculty or as a NASA astrophysicist, though he has an additional year of undergraduate work left.
Prince also is a member of the NAU cross country team. During his collegiate running career, the three-time Division I National Championship (2016, 2017, 2018) team was national runner-up in 2019 and won three consecutive Big Sky Conference titles.
As a young girl from Parks, Arizona, Brock and her friend were checking on a horse recently diagnosed with West Nile Virus (WNV). The pair was not familiar with the disease and yearned for answers. Unfortunately, the horse did not recover. Brock decided then to study the importance of disease research and prevention.
“I vowed to devote my career to understanding infectious diseases like West Nile Virus to prevent diseases like it from harming other animals, and humans as well,” Brock said.
Brock, now a student researcher at the Pathogen & Microbiome Institute (PMI), studies the prevalence, movement and evolutionary pathogens like WNV, rabies, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus with a specific focus on the circulation of WNV and rabies in the southwestern U.S.
Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in microbiology and a go to veterinary school with board certification in veterinary pathology to research host-pathogen interactions at a cellular level in animals and humans, developing new means for disease prevention.
Her mentors are Crystal Hepp and Viacheslav Fofanov.
About the Goldwater Scholarship
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
By providing scholarships to college who intend to pursue research careers in natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the nation needs in these critical fields. Scholars selected as juniors are entitled to one year of funding up to a maximum of $7,500. Scholars selected as sophomores are entitled to two years of funding up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
NAU students wishing to apply for a Goldwater Scholarship should contact Goldwater campus representative Andrea Graves at Natl_Scholarships@nau.edu over the summer.
McKenzie McLoughlin | NAU Communications
(928) 523-4789 | McKenzie.McLoughlin@nau.edu