Marcos Monteiro is Eastern Washington University’s first Barry Goldwater Scholar.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious STEM scholarships in the country. Marcos is among eight undergraduate students in Washington and 496 nation-wide to be awarded this scholarship!
What does it take to be a Barry Goldwater Scholar?
You must have impressive academic and research experience and go through a rigorous application process, including a nomination from your academic institution!
Marcos invests significant time and effort in his academic studies; after having taken multiple upper division biology courses and part of the organic chemistry series, his cumulative GPA is a 4.0.
Marcos’ research experience journey began last spring with an independent study in the lab of Dr. Andrea Castillo. Here, he worked with another undergraduate student, Laurisa Ankley, to study Manuka Honey antimicrobial mechanisms against the bacterial pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Because of his interest in research and pursuing a PhD in Microbiology/Molecular Biology, Marcos applied to the Ronald E. McNair Scholar’s and S-STEM Programs. The Ronald E. McNair Scholar’s Program, directed by Christina Torrez-García at EWU, provides scholarships and graduate school preparation for students interested in applying to PhD Programs. The S-STEM Scholarship Program, lead by Dr. Joanna Matos, provides financial support to undergraduate students so they can work less and invest time enriching their education through activities like independent studies. Marcos was successful with both applications and has benefited from the financial support and mentoring provided with these programs.
Last fall and winter, Marcos presented his work at multiple conferences. Notably, he gave oral presentations at the Murdock Undergraduate Research Conference and the West Coast Bacterial Physiologists Annual Asilomar Meeting. The data generated from Marcos’ experiments will contribute to a manuscript we are working to publish, “Manuka honey chelates iron and impacts iron regulation in key bacterial pathogens.”
After completing his Manuka Honey studies, Marcos started a new independent study project with Drs. Andrea Castillo and Javier Ochoa-Repáraz. He is working to engineer a probiotic that expresses high levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter g-aminobutyric acid. This probiotic will be tested as a therapeutic to mitigate the negative symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
This summer Marcos will take a break from the probiotic project and travel to Seattle for an internship in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Summer Undergraduate Research Program!
In this whirlwind of research opportunity and success, Marcos still needed to complete his B.S. in Biology. While considering scholarships to support another year at EWU, Marcos came across the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. He contacted the EWU Barry Goldwater Scholarship Campus-Representative, Associate Dean, Leslie Cornick and worked with Leslie and his mentors to submit the application.
This is what it takes to compete and be successful as a Barry Goldwater Scholar!