Idaho students win Goldwater Scholarships

March 31, 2014 

College of Idaho student Dannen Wright and Boise State University student Sarah Rehn are recipients of the 2014 Goldwater Scholarship, billed as the most prestigious award available to American undergraduates studying the sciences.

Wright, a biology major, and Rehn, a chemistry major, each will receive $7,500 toward educational expenses through the scholarship, named for the former U.S. senator and presidential candidate.

Wright plans to earn an M.D. and Ph.D. in immunology and pursue a career conducting clinical research on allergies and asthma. At the C of I, Wright is a key member of biology professor Dr. Sara Heggland’s research lab, which is studying the effects of cadmium on bone health. Wright’s oral presentations on that research won first place at both the Murdock College Science Research Program Conference and the Idaho Academy of Science Symposium this year, paving the way for her Goldwater application.

Rehn's current research involves a detection system that would allow for earlier identification of many widespread diseases, including cancer. Early detection would allow patients to seek treatment sooner and create a better prognosis. Because the system can provide definitive results in 24 hours or less, it also would ease some of the psychological tension faced by patients. Rehn began her research independently as a senior in high school and is an active member of the Boise State University Honors College, where she has assisted with a number of events including a recruiting event for high school students where she delivered a message about opportunities to study science.

Rehn is the fifth Boise State student to receive the award. Wright is the College of Idaho's eighth student to receive the honor. Rehn and Wright are two of 283 Goldwater Scholars selected nationally on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students.

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