Cherish Prickett is a fan of blockbuster natural disaster films. She likes to critique the rescue and recovery plans. “I know the movies are dramatized,” she said, “but they do have some truth in how people react to disasters.” Tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis are so fascinating to her that she’s pursuing an academic career researching how best to respond to disasters.
She’s now one step closer to her dream, thanks to the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Prickett recently won a Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate national scholarship for students in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win. Then I called my mom: ‘Mom, I’m a Goldwater.’”
Cherish is enrolled in URI’s five-year International Engineering Program, which offers a dual degree in an engineering field and a language. Students spend a year studying abroad and participating in an internship.
She will travel to Germany in the fall to study and complete a research project in German at the Technical University of Braunschweig. For the remaining six months, she’ll work at a German company that specializes in product delivery to consumers.
Driven is one way to describe Cherish. After graduating from URI in August 2018, she expects to get a master’s degree in operations research and a doctorate in industrial engineering. One day, she hopes to do research for government agencies and nonprofits involved in recovery after disasters.
“To know I’m setting myself up to do work that helps people in need here and throughout the world is exciting,” she said. “We’re a global world. We can’t isolate ourselves. Disasters are all over the world, and how we respond to them can always be improved.”