Tyler Dorrity is working toward a PhD in biochemistry or immunology.
Tyler Dorrity is working toward a PhD in biochemistry or immunology.

Tyler Dorrity researches the immune response of cells to the HIV virus.

April 2017 – Drew University junior Tyler Dorrity is being recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation for research he’s conducting on campus.

Dorrity is among 307 Goldwater Scholarship nominees who earned Honorable Mention—meaning his application was ranked highly enough by a selection committee to merit recognition. This year’s Goldwater Scholars were chosen from a pool of 1,286 science, math and engineering students from 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

Dorrity, the second Drew student to achieve Honorable Mention in the past three years, said the recognition meant a lot.

“For one, it’s a major source of validation; now I can be sure that this path of research is where I can fit in and flourish. For another, it’s a source of pride,” he said. “Also, receiving this award just makes me more excited to keep doing science. If people already think my research is exciting, I can’t wait to see where I go from here.”

Dorrity, a biochemistry major with aspirations to lead a research lab and teach in higher education, is investigating a possible treatment for HIV under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Biology Brianne Barker. He will write his Baldwin Honors thesis on the project during his senior year.

Assistant Professor of Biology Brianne Barker is Dorrity's mentor.
Assistant Professor of Biology Brianne Barker is Dorrity’s mentor.

Barker’s mentorship began during Dorrity’s first year at Drew and continued during the past two sessions of the Drew Summer Science Institute, which Dorrity plans to attend again this year.

“Tyler is a phenomenal student,” Barker said. “He is outstanding in terms of his intellectual potential, but also in terms of his intellectual curiosity, dedication, passion for science, initiative, integrity, motivation, independence, care for others and ability to work with others.”

Barker, who brought Dorrity to last year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiologists in Boston, added that Dorrity “has the poise and confidence to discuss science with me as a sort of junior colleague, yet he is also never afraid to ask for help.”

For Dorrity, doing hands-on research alongside Barker is a highlight of his Drew experience. “In research, she always asks for my opinion on experiments and theories, and that really allows me to feel like an actual scientist, rather than someone following directions on a sheet of paper,” he said, adding that Barker was instrumental in helping him polish his Goldwater application.