IU undergraduate Kaeli Bryant has been named a Goldwater Scholar for the 2019-20 academic year. The honor recognizes outstanding college sophomores and juniors who show great promise in math, science, or engineering.
Bryant was among the 496 students selected by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the federally endowed agency that awards the scholarships. She and two other IU students were selected as scholars from over 5,000 students at 443 colleges and universities.
Bryant, a junior from Greenwood, Indiana, is studying life sciences. She has conducted independent research on viral infection and host response in support of the search for new methods to curb the spread of highly infectious viral pathogens like Zika and Ebola through genetic manipulations. Her nominators also cite her "ability to assimilate new information quickly and deeply, and then to apply her knowledge to her ongoing research." Her career goals include earning a doctorate in immunology.
Bryant's faculty mentor is Irene Newton, associate professor of biology. Bryant first worked in Newton's lab while participating in IFLE during the summer of 2016 prior to her freshman year at IU. IFLE, the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Integrated Freshman Learning Experience program, allows incoming freshmen to experience six weeks of intensive research in a lab where they receive research training from their faculty mentors and lab members and are given a specific project of their own.
"I know of no other undergraduates who read scientific papers in their spare time," said Newton when asked about Bryant. "She has the intellectual spark necessary to connect the dots and be inspired to perform her own project. I am sure that Kaeli will be a successful scientist."