Sanders, '15, Recognized in 2013-14 Goldwater Scholarship Competition

Stephanie Sanders has returned to Trinity College in Ireland to continue her research on nanoparticles. Photograph supplied by Kevin Metz.
Stephanie Sanders has returned to Trinity College in Ireland to continue her research on nanoparticles. (Photo: Kevin Metz)

May 30, 2013

Stephanie Sanders, ’15, a double-major in chemistry and mathematics at Albion College, was recognized this spring as an honorable mention in the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Education.

The scholarships, honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater, are designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

“[Chemistry professor] Vanessa McCaffrey, one of the advisers for the scholarship, was really excited when I got the honorable mention,” Sanders said. “She said I should apply again next year.”

Sanders said it’s likely she’ll submit her materials for the award next year, and she will tout work both published and submitted about her research in the field of environmental chemistry.

Sanders is listed along with with Albion chemistry professor Kevin Metz, alumna Lyndsey Reynolds, ’12, and two collaborators at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland as co-authors of research about the use of coffee as a low-cost, green reductant for the room-temperature formation of metal nanoparticles published in Materials Chemistry and Physics.

During her first year at Albion, Sanders worked with biology major Anna Miller, '13, in Metz’s lab to perfect an experiment on the uptake and impact of small particles of silver by Brassica rapa, plants such as turnips and mustard that have a complete life cycle of 44 days. The work has been submitted to the Journal of Chemical Education to demonstrate how to teach the experiment to a class of students who are not majoring in chemistry.

Sanders will also bolster her application for the scholarship next year through experiences she will have in both chemistry and mathematics in the coming months. She returned to Ireland upon the conclusion of Albion classes earlier this month to continue her research on nanoparticles, and then she'll be off to the University of Wisconsin for a 10-week undergraduate research program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Sanders will take a break from the lab in the fall when she travels to Hungary for the Budapest Semester in Mathematics.

“I’m hoping to take three math classes and Intro to Hungarian,” Sanders said. “It will be sad not to be in the [chemistry] lab. I’ll miss it, but I miss math when I don’t have it.”