KINGSTON, R.I. – April 10, 2023 – Three University of Rhode Island students have been selected to receive 2023 Goldwater Scholarships, the most prestigious national scholarship for undergraduate students studying and planning research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering.
The awardees are Camila Cersosimo, a chemical engineering major; Morgan Prior, a major in mathematical sciences and business; and Aidan Kindopp, a dual chemical engineering and French major in his fourth year as part of URI’s five-year International Engineering Program.
They are among 413 recipients of the scholarship this year from a pool of more than 5,000 applicants. URI has had 27 Goldwater Scholarship awardees since the program’s inception in 1989.
Cersosimo, from Albion, who emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic at the age of 18 and who began her college career at the Community College of Rhode Island, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and to conduct research in biomaterials engineering. She aspires to use engineering principles to develop novel alternatives for drug delivery. She is a MARC U*STAR scholar, a program supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.
“Camila is a unique talent with enormous potential,” said Professor Niall Howlett, the principal investigator of the MARC U*STAR program at URI. “Camila ranks among the very best students I have mentored, and I am confident that she will become a leader in the field of biomedical engineering.”
Prior, from East Greenwich, intends to pursue a Ph.D. in computational math, focusing on theory, design, and the implementation of algorithms for efficient computation. She has interests in large datasets, and hopes to develop algorithms that help bridge the gap between our ability to collect data and to efficiently use those data. She is the recipient of a four-year Alfred J. Verrecchia Distinguished Business Scholarship at URI.
Professor Noah Daniels, a mentor to Prior, said, “Morgan exhibits, to a degree I rarely see, the perseverance, adaptability, maturity, intellectual curiosity, and intellect essential to making dramatic and impactful contributions in research. I have absolute confidence that she will make groundbreaking discoveries.”
Kindopp, from West Chesterfield, New Hampshire, has worked on nano-bio engineering research in URI’s Roxbury Lab. He would like to earn a Ph.D and conduct oncological research, likely in the field of targeted drug delivery, for a pharmaceutical company or national laboratory, developing delivery techniques for cancer treatments. Kindopp is an NCAA Division I student-athlete, competing in three seasons of varsity cross country and track and field and earning a number of athletic awards and honors.
Professor Samantha Meenach, who mentors Kindopp, referred to him as the type of student you work with only a few times in a career, and said, “He stands out from his peers on multiple levels, and has demonstrated brilliance … and the ability to be both analytical and to work well with others. I have no doubt that he will make significant scientific contributions and will rise to be a leader in whatever path he pursues.”
“This honor is not only a testament to the University’s dedication to providing exceptional opportunities in undergraduate research with direct faculty mentorship, but for these three promising students, it bolsters their ambitions to pursue their dreams and to truly make a lasting impact in their chosen fields, and on the world,” said Kathleen D. Maher, director of URI’s Office of National Fellowships & Academic Opportunities.