Chemistry student earns esteemed Goldwater Scholarship


Over the summer, junior chemistry student, Marie Nider, was one of six Wisconsin undergraduate students to win the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. This was the first in the school’s history.

“It felt great to win this, but I have to give credit to the chemistry department for pushing me to apply and to Dr. Chan, who has been my mentor the whole way through,” Nider said.

Nider’s research about the effects of everyday pharmaceuticals, like aspirin, caffeine and ibuprofen, finding their way into treated water and affecting the environment earned her and the university national recognition. She is one of 282 winners selected from a pool of 1,100 who will receive $7,500 for up to two years of undergraduate research.

Nider said her decision to pursue a career in science stemmed from her first high school chemistry class and that winning this scholarship goes a long way in helping her obtain a Ph.D.

She is currently planning on attending either UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee or Marquette University after graduation.

“This will open a lot of doors for me and I’m honored just to have submitted something,” Nider said. “The research is very time consuming, but I love doing it though and I’ve had to work really hard to keep my grades up as well.”

Catherine Chan, associate professor of biological sciences and director of the Undergraduate Research Program, said she was proud to have a UW-Whitewater student among the winners.


“Most of the recipients came from bigger schools, so it’s a high honor for Marie and the university to win this award,” Chan said. “This will pave the way for her as it is one of the most prestigious scholarships, in terms of the sciences.”

The other five Wisconsin resident winners attend UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh. Chan said some students feel they cannot compete with “bigger” schools but that her department has the resources students need to succeed.

“That’s absolutely not true because we are capable of training high quality students,” Chan said. “It’s a validation for us that we can produce students just as good, if not better, than bigger schools, in terms of the sciences, as long as the students are willing to work hard.”