WOOSTER, Ohio – Kyndalanne Pike, a rising senior at The College of Wooster who is double majoring in chemistry and mathematics, has been selected for one of the preeminent undergraduate awards – a Goldwater Scholar. The 2019-2020 awardees—496 college students from across the U.S.—were recently announced by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
Established in 1986 to honor the five-term Senator from Arizona, the Goldwater Foundation is a federally-endowed agency with a goal of fostering and encouraging outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.
Pike’s honor extends Wooster’s long-running success when it comes to Goldwater Scholars, as she is the 10th such awardee over the last 11 years, but the first since 2015 when both Matt Loberg and Sarah McGrath were recipients.
Pike, from Willoughby, Ohio, will utilize the $7,500 award to “conduct research at the interface of chemistry and applied mathematics, utilizing data analysis to develop new techniques for trace analysis of environmental contaminants,” she summarized in the application.
At Wooster, Pike is the lead student assistant for the Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) instrument, even providing technical support for faculty who are less familiar with it. She uses the very powerful tool to “see the un-seeable,” performing quantitative measurements of tiny molecules in water, which results in the exact chemical structures of different water solutions. It is part of chemistry professor Paul Edmiston’s continuing research that is “working towards developing and testing absorbents that remove a specific pollutant in water.”
In addition to the chemistry aspect, Pike wrote a computer program to crunch the large amounts of mathematical data, which has expediated the process and helped her determine what’s significant. “Our data analysis has gone so much faster. As new data sets come in, I’ve been able to update it, then expand what we’re doing with the data by adding a line or two of code … while analyzing hundreds of experiments, conducted by those working in the ‘Edmiston Lab,’” she explained.
This summer, Pike is gaining further experience via a highly-coveted 12-week industrial internship in analytical chemistry at Corteva, formerly Dow AgroSciences, in Indianapolis. She will be working with the mass spectrometry group and looks forward to “doing more qualitative work and being exposed to more instrumentation, which will allow (her) to learn new tools and techniques.”
Pike’s career goal is to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, and now with the incredible mentored undergraduate research experience Wooster has provided, plus a top-of-the-line internship and a Goldwater Scholar in hand, many top graduate schools will certainly take notice.