Michigan State University undergraduate STEM researchers earn honorable mention for national Goldwater Scholarship

Two Michigan State University Honors College students – mechanical engineering junior Michael Bigelow and microbiology junior Abigail Shotwell –  have received honorable mentions for the nationally competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The National and International Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) Office, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes.

Bigelow, a student in the College of Engineering, is an undergraduate research assistant for the Plasmas and Nanomaterials Laboratory in the College of Engineering. There he develops procedures and experiments to deposit nanocrystals, which produces LED light in any color. He is also a Spalding Scholar in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and won first place for his research about gallium nitride at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF). 

Bigelow is also active in leadership roles on campus as an event facilitator for the Leadership Advancement Program and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. He holds various positions on the executive board of the Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering fraternity and the MSU chapter of Triangle Fraternity.

Bigelow is from White Lake, Michigan and graduated from the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with nanotechnology because it delivers solutions to energy concerns and problems facing our world today,” Bigelow said. “Climate change is a pressing issue and I hope to use my education to help find solutions to energy consumption problems to make a better world for future generations.”   

Shotwell, a student in Lyman Briggs College, is an undergraduate research assistant for Professor Joan Rose’s Water Quality, Environmental, and Molecular Microbiology Lab. She has experience in virology research from the University of Nebraska, where she analyzed epidemiological data of patients in Tanzania. 

Shotwell is also the co-founder and co-president of the MSU Chapter of the American Society of Microbiology. She is pursuing a minor in Global Public Health and Epidemiology.

Shotwell is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Skyline High School.

“While traveling in Nicaragua as a professorial assistant, I realized that microbiology research does not solely need to happen in a sterile lab. This experience in the field struck a passion in me to explore diseases and try to find solutions to them through research,” said Shotwell. “One of my goals is to research the prevention of infectious disease in marginalized populations, specifically in Latin America and Africa.”