UO geological sciences student wins Goldwater Scholarship

EUGENE, Ore. -- (April 7, 2010) -- This summer, University of Oregon junior Patricia MacQueen is going to Hawaii, but it won't be to lounge on the beach. She plans to volunteer at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano to reinforce her study and research in this area. Her academic focus on geological sciences has earned her a Goldwater Scholarship award for 2010.

The award, funded by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, is offered to college students who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

(In the video below, MacQueen discusses her career goals. Story continues below the video.)

MacQueen, from Englewood, Colorado, is majoring in geological sciences. She is especially interested in work that combines research with efforts to assure public safety near volcanoes or other natural geologic events. MacQueen also is interested in earning a Ph.D., and perhaps using it to teach. This past year, she says, she had the opportunity to teach at a middle school and enjoyed it.

"My dream career is to work for the USGS (United States Geological Survey)," said MacQueen. "That seems to me a great blend of public service and also getting to do research, and also in a certain patriotic sense, helping my country."

Applicants for the award are nominated by faculty, and then are required to submit essays for final judgment. MacQueen's essay concerned using gravity and gravity-measuring tools to protect the public through early warning signs of upcoming geological upheavals, such as volcanoes.

MacQueen offered particular praise for geology professor Kathy Cashman for teaching and assistance in earning the award. "I really benefited from having that support," she said. "It gave me confidence to go for the Goldwater."

The Goldwater Award, created by Congress to honor the late Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater, is given to approximately 300 students annually.

Last year UO sophomore James Utterback received the Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of his work in physics.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Julie Brown, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu