Two UAB honors students recognized as Goldwater Scholars

Sarah Nealy and Georgia Haggard have been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars for continuing paths in the field of STEM.

Written by: Karen Templeton
Media contact: Yvonne Taunton

Georgia HaggardGeorgia HaggardTwo University of Alabama at Birmingham students have been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Georgia Haggard and Sarah Nealy, members of the UAB Honors College, join the group of 30 UAB students to date who have been awarded the scholarship. 

Each year, UAB may nominate up to four outstanding sophomore and junior students in the science, technology, engineering and math fields for scholarships awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation

The foundation grants each recipient a scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year that covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

About the two UAB students recognized this year: 

Georgia Haggard (Trinity, Alabama) is a genetics and genomics sciences major working in the lab of Rita Cowell, Ph.D., at Southern Research. She spent last summer participating in the St. Jude Pediatric Oncology Education Program and plans to focus her research career on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of cancer. Haggard is a student in the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program and is the first Goldwater recipient from the new Genetics and Genomics Sciences program.

“Sarah and I are so honored to represent UAB in this way,” Haggard said. “We could not have achieved this without Dr. Ashley Kuntz’s and Dr. Cristin Gavin’s endless support with our applications. I am grateful for the support, guidance and leadership of my mentors Dr. Rita Cowell, Dr. Daniel Bullard and Dr. Denise Monti. I am thankful to be a part of such an outstanding center for research and excellence.”

Sarah NealySarah NealySarah Nealy (Fairhope, Alabama) is a chemistry major working in the labs of Venktatram Atigadda, Ph.D., assistant professor, Dermatology, School of Medicine and Andrei Stanishevsky, Ph.D., College of Arts and Sciences Department of Physics. She completed an NSF-IRES training experience with Stanishevsky in the Czech Republic and Poland and studies materials chemistry. Nealy aims to build a career in industry first, then the academy. She is a student in the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program.

“I never went into research with this scholarship in mind as the end goal,” Nealy said. “This award has been three years in the making. I finally realized all the opportunities that research has to offer when I studied nanofibers abroad last summer. Ever since then, I have been working full speed, not letting an opportunity pass me by. I’m grateful for the successes I have had so far, but it certainly is not the end of my journey.”

The Goldwater Scholarship program began in 1989 with the purpose of encouraging outstanding students to pursue careers in engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed 9,047 scholarships worth approximately $71 million.