Biology Major Receives Nation’s Highest Undergraduate Science Honor

Newmyer and Cline perform surgery in the laboratory.

Junior Brandon Newmyer (left) assists Associate Professor of Biology Mark Cline in the laboratory.

Radford University junior biology major and Richmond native Brandon Newmyer has been awarded the 2011 Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.  The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses.

The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the most prestigious honor in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduate students studying the sciences.  In 1986, the program was established by the United States Congress in honor of former U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. Competition for the award is intense. Other institutions represented in the list of this year’s recipients include Yale, Harvard, and the University of Virginia.

Newmyer was recognized for the work he has completed in neuroscience with his mentor, Mark Cline, associate professor of biology.

“When Brandon arrived at Radford for new student orientation at Quest, he took advantage of Dr. Cline's invitation to work in his research laboratory,” said College of Science and Technology Dean J. Orion Rogers.  “Brandon is the embodiment of taking advantage of opportunities, and  Dr. Cline is an example of a faculty member who helps students find their passion in learning. This achievement is tangible evidence that Radford University is a destination for motivated students to learn from extraordinary faculty members and to achieve success they never dreamed was possible.”

Together Cline and Newmyer have authored seven publications of their original research in scientific journals including Physiology and Behavior, the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Behavioural Brain Research and Neuroscience Letters. Newmyer served as first author of three of the publications, and he currently has three more papers in preparation. He has also received a research grant from the Virginia Academy of Science.

According to Cline, it is Newmyer’s uncommon work ethic that is key to his success.  “He puts in long hours and accepts that research more commonly goes in an unexpected direction which requires many rethinks and restarts,” said Cline.  “In short, Brandon has obtained a level of expertise that is very uncommon for an undergraduate, and this is because of hard work.”    

Newmyer is thankful to both Cline and the university for providing him with an opportunity and an environment in which he can succeed.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for this honor,” said Newmyer.  “I think that with this on my resume, I will have an incredible advantage in getting into whatever graduate program that I choose.  I know for a fact that none of this would have been even remotely possible without Radford and Dr. Cline.  I would never have had any of the amazing opportunities that I have had so early in my career at any other university.”

Apr 3, 2011
Ann Brown