ORONO — University of Maine junior Alan Baez has been awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for demonstrating exceptional promise of becoming next-generation research leaders in engineering, mathematics or natural sciences. He will receive as much as $7,500 for tuition, books and room and board, according to a news release from UMaine News.

Alan Baez Photo courtesy of UMaine News

Baez, a 2016 Waterville Senior High School graduate, is a biochemistry major. The 2016 Mitchell Scholar also is in the Honors College.

He has been conducting toxicology research in the lab of Julie Gosse, an associate professor of biochemistry, since his sophomore year at UMaine. Last year, he was awarded a Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Summer Fellowship to study effects of the antimicrobial triclosan on the plasma membrane potential of mast cells. Baez presented this research at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in Baltimore.

This summer, he’ll participate in The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program, designed for scholars who want to be immersed in genetics and genomics research.

Baez plans to earn his bachelor’s, doctorate and post-doctorate degrees and become a principal investigator at a nonprofit or academic research institution, conducting independent research in toxicology or genomics in his own laboratory.

In addition to Gosse, Baez’s faculty mentors are Molloy, King, Juyoung Shim, Keith Hutchison, Suraj Sangroula and Melody Neely.

Dr. Robert Wheeler, associate professor of microbiology, is the UMaine campus representative for the scholarship. Baez received application support from the Office of Major Scholarships in Fogler Library. The office has more information about the Goldwater Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities on its website.

In 1986, Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to honor the work of Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served the country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate, according to the release.

Since 1989, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded scholarships totaling more than $68 million to 8,628 students. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 92 Rhodes Scholarships, 137 Marshall Awards, 159 Churchill Scholarships, 104 Hertz Fellowships, and other distinguished awards, including National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Baez is the son of Juan Baez and Maria Vazquez, of Waterville.

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