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College of nanoscale science & engineering

UAlbany NanoCollege student honored with the nation's most prestigious undergraduate award for scientific study

In receiving 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, CNSE sophomore Sheila Smith is believed to be the first ever to be recognized in the field of nanotechnology

Student ResearchersAlbany, NY – The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany announced today that Sheila Smith, a sophomore majoring in Nanoengineering, has been named a recipient of the prestigious 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which is the nation’s premier undergraduate award for outstanding students in the fields of science, engineering and mathematics.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “It is a pleasure to congratulate Sheila Smith of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for her recognition as a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. This distinction not only reflects positively on her outstanding achievements in the classroom and laboratory, but also on CNSE as an unparalleled training ground for our nation’s best and brightest young scientists, and on SUNY as a home for educational and research excellence in scientific discovery and exploration.”

CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros said, “In support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership and commitment to continuing to build New York’s globally recognized nanotechnology economy, the UAlbany NanoCollege is delighted to congratulate Sheila Smith on this prestigious recognition. As the first CNSE undergraduate to receive the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and the first ever in the field of nanotechnology, Sheila is an embodiment of the educational and research excellence that sets CNSE students apart, and gives New York a competitive advantage in developing the highly skilled workforce that is necessary for success in the 21st century innovation economy.”

One of fewer than 300 students nationwide to be recognized, Smith is believed to be the first student engaged in the field of nanotechnology ever to receive the award.

Smith is conducting research that targets the development of new materials and processes to enhance the speed, functionality and energy efficiency of devices ranging from cellphones and laptops to LEDs and solar cells. Working with her adviser, CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoengineering Dr. F. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik, her research uses photoluminescence techniques to analyze the fundamental optical properties of GaN-based materials to help determine their application and performance. Smith plans to eventually pursue her graduate degree in Nanoengineering at CNSE.

Student and FacultyAdditionally, CNSE sophomore Zachary Olmsted received an Honorable Mention. A nanoengineering major advised by CNSE Associate Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Janet Paluh, he studies nanomotors and bio-synthetic devices that utilize self-assembly paradigms to enable next generation nanomanufacturing platforms. His research also facilitates advances in “lab-on-a-chip” for point-of-care test results in medical patients. He plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Nanomedicine, a joint program of the UAlbany NanoCollege and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

The goal of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in the United States, and to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research. The award comes with $15,000 in funding for Smith’s undergraduate study over the next two years.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of more than 1,000 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 77 Rhodes Scholarships, 108 Marshall Awards, 98 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

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