April 2019 – Drew University junior Mason Scher won a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
Scher is a chemistry major and Baldwin Honors and Civic Scholar who has a passion for environmental science. Her scholarship will fund her tuition as she conducts research into how the atmospheric processing of mineral dust affects the climate—both in modern and paleo systems.
“This achievement means that I’m on the right path toward my goals and that the folks who have helped me along the way are truly excellent mentors and teachers,” Scher said. “I think this is certainly a testament to the opportunities that Drew has given me and helped me to earn.”
Those opportunities include the Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti, where undergraduates work with retired scientists on original research, and the Drew Summer Science Institute. Scher also vigorously pursues learning experiences off campus, including internships at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Great Swamp Watershed Association.
Chemistry Professor Ryan Hinrichs described Scher as a top-notch researcher who has “strong laboratory skills, an insatiable curiosity and a passion for climate science.”
Hinrichs, who’s also an associate dean for curriculum, added that he’s “extremely impressed by Mason’s ability to define and design new areas of research, which is a skill most scientists don’t develop until graduate school.”
Long term, Scher plans to pursue a PhD in the geosciences with the goal of working in paleoclimatology.
Drew’s last two Goldwater Scholars—Robert Scheffler and Gregory Hunt—were in 2012. In addition, three students earned Goldwater honorable mentions in the past four years: Saif Yasin in 2015, Tyler Dorrity in 2017 and Uma Kantheti in 2018.
This year Scher is among just 11 Goldwater Scholars in New Jersey and 496 in the U.S., according to the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. They were selected from a larger pool of 1,223 students that were nominated by 443 schools.