Three Christian Reformed students—Nicole Michmerhuizen of Maranatha CRC in Holland, Mich., Abigail Streelman of South Grandville CRC in Grandville, Mich., and John Strikwerda, of Park CRC, also in Holland—were recently awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarship program recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholars in mathematics, engineering, and the natural sciences. All three students are studying at Calvin College, the Michigan-based school owned by the CRC. Another student, Jacob Lampen, received an honorable mention.
Jacob Lampen, Abigail Streelman, Nicole Michmerhuizen, and John Strikwerda
“I was ecstatic when I saw that my name was listed [on the Goldwater website], and even more so when I realized Nicole’s and Abigail’s were there as well,” said Strikwerda. “Being named a Goldwater Scholar is such an honor and a huge blessing.”
The students, in their third year, are each working with a Calvin faculty member on research projects and are publishing their findings in scientific journals.
Michmerhuizen, a biochemistry and engineering double major, is studying a region of DNA associated with a person’s predisposition to developing type 1 diabetes. “Research is fascinating to me because there is so much we don’t yet understand about this complex world and our place in it,” she said. After graduation Michmerhuizen will pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical science or medicinal chemistry.
A biology major, Streelman is working on a project that integrates biology and computer science. “I am hoping to get a Ph.D. in computational biology. I would like to become a professor so I can conduct research in a public health field and also teach,” she said.
Strikwerda, a chemistry major, is researching the basic electronic structure of the atom. This summer he will spend six weeks studying nuclear and radiochemistry at Brookhaven National Laboratory. After graduation Strikwerda will pursue a combined master’s/doctorate degree in science.
Each scholar will receive $7,500 to be used toward tuition, room and board, books, and supplies. Nationwide, 271 Goldwater scholarships were awarded this year from a pool of over 1,100 nominees. Since 2008, 14 Calvin students have received this honor, more than any other school during that time period.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the U.S. Congress to honor Barry Goldwater, who served 30 years in U.S. Senate.