RICHLAND – A WSU Tri-Cities student and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory intern earned the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2010-2011 academic year.
“Kristen is very ambitious and driven to succeed,” McAteer said. “She takes the initiative to figure things out and strives to understand the full complexity of the projects she works on.”
Meyer, a senior, works in the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL) with PNNL’s Fungal Biotechnology group and Ken Bruno, her research mentor, researching ways to make fungi produce high amounts of useful bioproducts. She is working with Aspergillus niger — a species of black mold commonly found in soil — to understand how it produces large quantities of citric acid. This knowledge can then lead to discovering how fungi produce useful products such as precursors to plastic, biofuel and other bioproducts.
The budding scientist also earned top honors last fall at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Science and Energy Research Challenge Poster Competition.
Meyer will travel to Ecuador in late August to study biomedicine and public health. During her semester, Meyer will have the opportunity to carry out a clinical internship and to gain proficiency in the Spanish language. She hopes to frequently interact with patients during her study.
Her decision to study abroad in Ecuador during the coming fall semester has impressed her teachers and co-workers.
Once Meyer graduates in December 2010 with a bachelor of science, she plans to complete an eight-year post-graduate program in medical scientist training. The goal is to be a physician scientist with an M.D. and a Ph.D. Meyer plans to conduct biomedical research and potentially to practice medicine abroad.
Meyer graduated from Hanford High School in 2007 while also attending Columbia Basin College through the Running Start program. Her parents are Perry and Lori Meyer of West Richland.