Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Nominated for 2021 Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based award for outstanding students in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering who are interested in pursuing careers in research. The premier award for undergraduate students in STEM fields, the scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who showed a keen interest in science and technology during his 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Northeastern University is honored to nominate four of its most distinguished undergraduate scientists and engineers for the 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Together, these students represent the best of Northeastern’s model of experiential education in a university focused on use-inspired research to solve pressing global challenges.

Sabrina BondSabrina Bond COS’22
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience; minor in Physics
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL
Mentors: Michele Jade Zee, Christiane Wrann, Dagmar Sternad

Sabrina Bond’s parallel interests in physics and physiology led her to an intense curiosity about the ways that the extreme environment of outer space, particularly microgravity, affect human behavior and biology. Sabrina is especially intrigued by the effects of environments with different physical dynamics on our neuropsychology. Since her first semester at Northeastern, Sabrina has conducted computational and behavioral neuroscience research in the Action Lab of Professor Dagmar Sternad, investigating impaired motor behavior in children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Following a first co-op studying the effect of the exercise hormone irisin in Alzheimer’s mouse models at Massachusetts General Hospital, Sabrina has returned full-time to the Action Lab for her current co-op experience. To gain in-depth human physiological knowledge alongside advanced research credentials, Sabrina intends to pursue the MD/PhD with a focus on the neurophysiological effects of microgravity.

Hannah BoyceHannah Boyce COE’22
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Groton, MA
Mentors: Giovanni Traverso, Debra Auguste, Nathan Gianneschi

Hannah Boyce’s experiences as a chemical engineering researcher and a woman in STEM have inspired her twin professional goals: to innovate drug delivery mechanisms for more targeted treatment of chronic diseases and to improve engineering education at all levels so that underrepresented students in STEM disciplines are better prepared and better supported. In the lab of Northeastern professor Debra Auguste, Hannah studied the migration of the triple negative breast cancer line MDA-MB-231, which sparked her interest in drug delivery. She then investigated tumor associated microhpages at Iowa State University, melanin nanoparticles at Northwestern University, the effect of carbon monoxide on inflammation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a drug release assay at Alivio Therapeutics, and currently, scalable production and isolation of extracellular vesicles at ETH Zurich. Meanwhile, Hannah’s research on the benefits of supplemental instruction for women in engineering resulted in several presentations and publications on that topic. Hannah aspires to a PhD in chemical engineering and a career as a professor.

Spencer Lake Jacobs-SkolikSpencer Lake Jacobs-Skolik COE’22
Major: Electrical Engineering; minors in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics
Hometown: Weston, CT
Mentors: Eugene Tunik, Deniz Erdogmus, Dana Brooks

Lake Jacobs-Skolik aims to improve the lives of people with neurological diseases by advancing research and treatment at every level: from investigating the basic electrophysiological biomarkers of these conditions, to developing neurostimulation-based interventional measures, to prototyping and testing rehabilitative and assistive devices based on this knowledge. Lake discovered the practical implications of his work in coding and signal processing through his work with Enabling Engineering, a Northeastern student-led group that designs and builds devices to empower individuals with disabilities. His research experiences have included work on advanced prosthetic hands, analysis of M-wave and Hoffman reflex behavior to elucidate the locus of motor deficits, prediction of muscle activation for motor control, and the development of a novel machine learning algorithm to detect the features of the cortical silent period, a distinctive EMG characteristic often used to diagnose neuromotor disorders, working across labs with mentors and collaborators Gene Tunik, Deniz Erdogmus, and Dana Brooks of the Movement Neuroscience Laboratory, the Cognitive Systems Lab, and the Biomedical Signals Processing Lab, respectively. Lake plans to pursue an MD/PhD specializing in electrodiagnostic medical research so that he can lead the translation of basic research into clinical applications for patients with neurological conditions.

Cameron YoungCameron Young COE/COS’22
Major: Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry
Hometown: Medfield, MA
Mentors: Giovanni Traverso, Ambika Bajpayee, Adrienne Randolph

Cameron Young aims to be at the forefront of personalized medicine, pioneering the next generation of cancer therapeutics that will be customized to each patient’s unique disease physiology. In the Northeastern lab of Professor Ambika Bajpayee, Cameron has studied the role of crosslinks called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the development of osteoarthritis. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, meanwhile, Cameron has been involved in a number of projects, including researching ways to protect mucosal tissue from damage during radiotherapy; developing a machine learning model to predict drug-transporter interactions in the gastrointestinal tract; and investigating therapeutic candidates for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Currently, Cameron is managing the database of over 1,700 patient case reports of acute COVID-19 infection at Boston Children’s Hospital as part of a CDC-funded sentinel surveillance study at over 70 pediatric hospitals. In order to take the latest breakthroughs from the bench-top to the bedside, Cameron aspires to earn an MD/PhD and run a laboratory at an academic teaching hospital.