Two Huskies Recognized with the Goldwater Scholarship

We are very pleased to share news that two of our four candidates for the Goldwater Scholarship have earned the award this year. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes ambition and excellence in undergraduate STEM research, providing awardees up to $7,500 and access to the Goldwater Scholars network of nearly 11,000 recipients over the past thirty-five years. From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, two Northeastern students, Luke Bagdonas COS’25 and Kaitlyn Ramesh COE’25, were among the 438 selected nationwide. Read on to learn more about them.

Luke BagdonasLuke Bagdonas COS’25, Chemistry
Mentors: Aaron Stubbins, Jennifer Bowen, Rein Kirss
Home State: Massachusetts

Luke is a third-year chemistry major who is passionate about researching salt marshes as a nature-based solution to climate change. Salt marshes are coastal wetland ecosystems that sequester carbon extremely fast but are at risk from multiple anthropogenic-induced effects. He first became passionate about carbon storage during his first co-op in the lab of Professor Jennifer Bowen, where he studied how nitrate was impacting the composition of dissolved organic carbon in salt marsh soils. He then helped develop a method to grow Spartina alterniflora, a foundation salt marsh species, hydroponically in order to examine how root exudates vary between plants, informing how plant-microbe interactions and soil organic matter develop. After his first co-op, Luke was awarded a PEAK Summit Award to study carbon fluxes from degrading S. alterniflora in the lab of Professor Aron Stubbins. He plans to continue his research on the drivers of salt marsh organic matter structure through a Ph.D. so he can better inform salt marsh restoration and mitigation strategies. Outside of research, Luke enjoys playing piano and writing music for NUStage, serving as a College of Science Ambassador, and spending time with the chemistry club.

Kaitlyn RameshKaitlyn Ramesh COE’25, Bioengineering
Mentors: Mingyang Lu, Maxim Prigozhin, Helen Ann Markewich
Home State: Massachusetts

Kaitlyn Ramesh is a third-year bioengineering student at Northeastern University aspiring to earn a Ph.D. in Computational Biology to investigate the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying tissue regeneration. Through developing computational tools and examining genomics data, she hopes to advance the field of precision medicine and expand treatment options in healthcare. Kaitlyn was introduced to computational biology in her freshman year when she joined the Lu Lab in Northeastern’s Department of Bioengineering. Here, she developed a bioinformatics algorithm that analyzes single-cell gene expression data to infer the kinetics of gene expression changes that drive macroscale biological processes, such as wound healing.  Her work on the algorithm was funded by the PEAK Ascent Award and AJC Merit Research Scholarship. To further explore quantitative biology, Kaitlyn completed an REU at Harvard University, where she joined the Prigozhin Lab to build a novel microfluidic device that captures ultrafast intracellular processes and provides insight into drug response. In addition to her independent research endeavors, Kaitlyn has collaborated with her classmates in the College of Engineering to build an injury-prevention EMG sleeve. Outside of research, Kaitlyn enjoys mentoring students through the Women’s Research Engagement Network (WREN) and is a member of No Limits Dance Crew.