When Katherine Schutt '14
was named the first-ever
Goldwater Scholar from Saint
Michael's College, she exceeded
expectations - something she's
been doing frequently during her
time as a student.
"Katie Schutt performs at a level
you see in PhD students, with her
academic prowess, her research
initiative, her sticking with a goal
till it's met, her independence,"
said her chemistry professor Shane
Lamos '00. "You don't often see that
in an undergraduate."
Katherine Schutt's recognition as a Goldwater Scholar is the most prestigious recognition you can get as an undergraduate.
- Professor Shane Lamos '00
The Goldwater Scholarship is
considered the most competitive
and most beneficial recognition for
an undergraduate science student
in the United States.
Named in honor of Arizona
Senator Barry Goldwater, the
scholarship, established by
Congress, aims "to provide a
continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by
awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields."
In urging Schutt to apply, Lamos knew that other outstanding students had applied
unsuccessfully in the past. "Professor Lamos said it was unlikely that I would succeed -
that made me really want to go for it," said Schutt.
In early April, Lamos learned that Schutt had been named one of the 271 Goldwater
winners from across the U.S. for 2013. Most winners were from major research
universities. The scholarship provides $7,500 and an advantage in getting into top
graduate programs and in landing research grants.
"Katie is an emerging scholar and has a level of tenacity towards learning that
is inspiring to witness," said Lamos. "The award speaks to where we've come with
research with our students. This is the most prestigious recognition you can get as an
Schutt, a chemistry major with math and biology minors, used her 2012 summer
research project on mixed-isotope labeling in breast cancer as the genesis of her Goldwater
application. Her research allows comparison between healthy individuals and those with the
disease. "We compared chemical profiles of the two groups," she explained, "and looked at differences, so we could see what proteins had been
up-regulated or down-regulated in the disease state."
Schutt, whose grandmother died of breast cancer, is
focused on finding a cure. She considered becoming a
doctor, but now she aims to study cancer on a molecular
level, seeking its causes.
"The development of a cure will depend on further
elucidating this link... between HDL cholesterol
concentration and breast cancer development using the
method of mixed-isotope labeling (MIL) coupled with mass
spectrometry," she wrote in her application.
Schutt and Lamos published a review on this mixedisotope
labeling in Bioanalyis 2012. Her proposal spells
out her plan to compare multiple fatty acid concentrations
between healthy patients, patients at high risk for breast
cancer, and patients at various stages of breast cancer to
outline a disease pathway for cancer. Schutt and Lamos are
continued their research over the summer with the support
of a Vermont Genetics Network grant.