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Three UW-Eau Claire Students Honored by Goldwater Scholarship Program

RELEASED: April 8, 2008

Katie Klotz Eric Weber Lee Behling
Katie Klotz
Eric Weber
Lee Behling

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students have received prestigious 2008-09 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships and a third student received an honorable mention.

This is believed to be the first time a UW-Eau Claire student has received a Goldwater Scholarship, considered to be the premier undergraduate award of its type in the United States in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

UW-Eau Claire students receiving the scholarships are Katie Klotz, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major from St. Cloud, and Eric Weber, a senior mathematics major from Rochester, Minn. Lee Behling, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major from Amery, received an honorable mention.

"This is a prestigious competition that attracts many of the brightest undergraduate math and science students in the country," said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich. "I'm thrilled — though not surprised — that three of our students were recognized by the program. This is what happens when you have exceptional students learning from exceptional faculty at a university that values and supports faculty-student collaborative research."

Students who receive Goldwater Scholarships have strong academic qualifications, in-depth research experience and a commitment to a career in science.

Goldwater scholars receive scholarships that cover the cost of undergraduate tuition, fees and room and board up to $7,500 for one or two years.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Klotz plans to earn a doctorate in biological chemistry and then work in an academic research environment applying biological and chemical concepts to current health issues.

In addition to the Goldwater Scholarship, Klotz has received several other honors and awards, including the UW-Eau Claire Kell Container Corp. Scholarship for Faculty-Student Research and a research grant from the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Klotz has conducted research with chemistry professor Dr. Jason Halfen for two years and plans to continue working with him until she graduates in May 2009. Her findings have been published in Chemical Communications, and she has presented them at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

After earning a doctorate in mathematics, Weber intends to teach at the university level and conduct research with undergraduates in advanced mathematics, particularly algebraic topology and deformation of algebraic structures.

Weber has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards while at UW-Eau Claire, including a Blugold Fellowship Undergraduate Research Award. He also received two grants from ORSP to support student-faculty research projects.

For more than two years, Weber collaborated with Dr. Michael Penkava, professor of mathematics, to study complex algebras. He has presented posters and given talks on their work, including a presentation to the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research.

When he graduates from UW-Eau Claire, Behling intends to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry or a closely related field. He eventually wants to teach at the collegiate level while conducting research related to protein biochemistry or structural biology.

While at UW-Eau Claire, Behling has received multiple honors and scholarships, as well as a summer research stipend from the Research Site for Educators through the University of Minnesota. He also received two research grants from ORSP.

For more than two years, Behling has been a student researcher, working under the direction of chemistry professors Dr. Scott Hartsel and Dr. Warren Gallagher. He has presented his research at the Experimental Biology Conference and will present his work at the 2008 Biophysical Society annual meeting.

A total of 321 2008-09 Goldwater scholars were selected from 1,035 nominees.

The UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the College of Arts and Sciences coordinated the nominations at the suggestion of the provost.

For details about the Goldwater Scholarship program, see their Web site.

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JB

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