Biology Major Earns Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded a Goldwater Scholarship to Ursinus College junior Dominic Castanzo, a Biology major with a minor in Biostatistics.  

Dominic Castanzo

Dominic Castanzo 2014

The prestigious Goldwater award supports students seeking careers in research in the sciences with an award of up to $7,500. Castanzo, of Clarks Summit, Pa., joins an Ursinus tradition of students winning this award – joining eight Scholars in the last 10 years.

Castanzo said he may want to pursue a career as a professor at a liberal arts college. “I’ve exposed myself to both research and teaching opportunities (in the form of tutoring) here at Ursinus. I’m confident my time in grad school will help me decide on a career between industrial research and the research/teaching that comes with a professorship,” he said.

“On behalf of the College, we congratulate Dominic on being named a Goldwater Scholar,” said President Bobby Fong. “It is a testament to his achievements and promise.”

Castanzo is one of 16 college students in Pennsylvania to be awarded the scholarship, which was awarded to 271 students nationwide this year. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

His research has been in the lab of Professor Rebecca Lyczak, investigating the role of the centrosome positioning in polarity establishment in C. elegans embryos through characterization of the pam-1 mutant. He continued this research as a Summer Fellow in 2012, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Also, in the lab of Professor Dale Cameron, Castanzo is investigating the role of molecular chaperones in the formation, propagation and toxicity of prions (infectious, self-propagating, misfolded proteins) in yeast.

He has presented his research at Haverford College and Thomas Jefferson University, and will be presenting this month at the MidAtlantic Developmental Biology Conference in Williamsburg Va.

“Dom is a great student,” said Dr. Lyczak. “He works incredibly hard. He is always the first in the lab in the morning and the last to leave each day. He truly deserved this recognition,” she said.

Biology Professor Cory Straub added that Dominic has “demonstrated excellence in critical thinking, communication, and attention to detail. These characteristics, along with Dom’s enthusiasm for learning and strong work ethic, make him well-suited for a career in science.”

Castanzo is an involved student. He is an Ursinus College Ambassador, President of the Ursinus College Club Soccer Team, a Tour Guide with the Office of Admission, a tutor with the Center for Academic Support, Secretary & Co-Vice President of the Biomedical Ethics Club, and Treasurer of the American Statistical Association. Until this past year he played on the Men’s Varsity Soccer Team.

A Dean’s List student, Dominic is a member of the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honors Society and recipient of the Outstanding Sophomore Award in Biology Department. He is also a new member of the Ursinus College Cub & Key Society. He recently was accepted into a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Ohio State University.



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