CLEMSON — Two Clemson University students have been awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering; and a third student has received an honorable mention.

John Farmer

John Farmer

John Farmer, a junior physics major from Chesterfield and Mary Katherine Showers, a junior bioengineering major from Nashville, Tenn., were awarded scholarships. Britany Avin, a junior genetics and biochemistry and genetics major from Greenville, N.C., received an honorable mention.

Farmer’s past work includes research with assistant professor Sean Brittain on infrared spectroscopy of young stars, work as an intern at Fermilab on radiation simulation for the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid detector and work as an intern on galactic astrophysics at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile. Farmer plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and explore a career in research.

Showers is conducting research on pressure sensors that will work with ultrasound to characterize soft tissue injuries, such as rotator cuff injuries, with associate professor Delphine Dean and assistant professor David Kwartowitz. Showers’ work aims to improve outcomes from surgery and prevent unnecessary operations.

Kate Showers

Kate Showers

Showers worked last summer for the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington on a sensor array that detects when a patient is about to trip, which ultimately will be part of an alarm system for lower limb prostheses. In the summer of 2012, she worked at Vanderbilt University on image-guided surgery that uses different imaging modalities (MRIs, CT scans, X-rays) to improve the field of view during surgeries.

Avin has worked on two research projects at Clemson, both of which focus on the infection process of pathogens. In summer 2013, she researched neurodegenerative diseases at Emory University, and this summer she plans to study cancer cell lines and variability between normal and cancerous cell cycles at Vanderbilt University as a part of the National Cancer Institute’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program Summer Cancer Research Program. Avin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology.

Each year, colleges and universities across the nation nominate four juniors or sophomores to receive scholarships. Over the past five years, 12 Clemson students have won scholarships and five received honorable mentions. This year, 283 scholarships were awarded from 1,166 nominations.

Goldwater Scholarships cover the cost of tuition, room and board, fees and books up to a maximum of $7,500 per academic year. The federally endowed scholarship program aims to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

— Ashley Hedrick, Class of 2016