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Angelo State honors student wins top national STEM scholarship

Katie Holland is one of 410 college students in the U.S. and 22 in Texas, to win a Goldwater Scholarship.
Credit: Angelo State University

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Katie Holland, a second-year biology student in the Angelo State University Honors Program, has been awarded a 2021 Goldwater Scholarship.

The scholarship is considered the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to an ASU press release.

Holland, who is from Aledo, is one of just 410 college students from across the United States, and one of only 22 in Texas, to win a 2021 Goldwater Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to STEM students with an interest in pursuing research careers in those fields. More than 1,250 students were nominated for the scholarship this year, representing 438 colleges and universities. Awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the Goldwater Scholarship provides each recipient up to $7,500 a year to cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books and room and board for up to four semesters or until graduation. Of equal value is the membership in a community of exceptionally talented emerging scientists, as well as mentorship by past recipients.

“As the university’s national fellowship advisor, it gives me great pleasure to see Katie’s individual success,” Dr. Shirley Eoff, Honors Program director, said in the release. “That success is a credit to her intellectual capability and work ethic, but also to the excellent mentoring she has received from ASU faculty, particularly Dr. Loren Ammerman. It’s also very exciting to see Angelo State University’s name alongside some of the most prestigious institutions in the country on the Goldwater Scholars list.”

Since her freshman year at ASU, Holland has been conducting research with Ammerman, a professor of biology. Her current work involves the molecular screening of adenoviruses in Texas bats, and it is funded by an ASU Faculty-Mentored Undergraduate Research Grant and a Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta) Honor Society Research Grant.

She was also recently selected for the prestigious and highly-competitive 2021 Summer Research Program in Biology and Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Previously, Holland was selected for the competitive 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Genetics and Genomics at Texas A&M University. While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented completion of the on-site lab rotations, she was able to participate in a modified virtual program that focused on bioinformatics.

Holland has also received an ASU Carr Excellence Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship and Alvin New Honors Enhancement Scholarship. She serves as a mentor for the Honors Program and a representative in the Tri-Beta biology honor society, and she is active in the Honors Student Association.

Scheduled to graduate in May 2022, after just three years of undergraduate studies, Holland’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biology and pursue a career conducting and directing biomedical research at a national research laboratory.