Goldwater Scholar Fueled By Science And Discovery
Ever since she was 8-years-old, Lindsey Jones wanted to be a doctor.
That was until she participated in a summer biomedical research project and took a genetics class earlier this year that made her realize her passion resided elsewhere.
Jones — a sophomore biochemistry major and Spanish minor at Nebraska Wesleyan — was recently awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. The honor will provide her with more opportunities to explore science.
“I was shocked,” Jones said of learning about the Goldwater. “I had no idea how I would stack up against a national application pool, especially as a sophomore.”
The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,095 math, science and engineering students from colleges and universities nationwide; 275 scholarships were awarded. The scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, room and board up to $7,500 each year for two years.
Jones began tinkering with biochemistry the summer before entering NWU. She contacted Nebraska Wesleyan’s biology department to ask about potential research opportunities. She was put in touch with biology professor Dr. Jerry Bricker who happened to be working on an Nebraska INBRE Program grant that included one position for a high school summer research associate. Nebraska Wesleyan received the grant and Jones began her first of two summers as a research associate.
Her passion is genetics, specifically epigenetics, which explores the mechanism by which genes are turned on and off in the body and produce measurable changes without genetic mutation. Jones is interested in how gene silencing could impact diabetes, a disease that has affected her family. She’s interested in learning how epigenetic changes could help regulate metabolism and fat deposition in someone with Type 2 diabetes or potentially stimulate insulin production in someone with Type 1 diabetes.
“I’m fueled by investigation, discovery and life-long learning,” said Jones. “I love the thought of being involved in discovery, change and progression.”
This summer Jones will conduct research at Texas A&M University in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program through the National Science Foundation. In addition to research, she will participate in symposiums and journal talks.
“I want to see where this will take me,” Jones said of her upcoming opportunities. “This summer could reinforce my interest even more.”
“Things change,” Jones said of her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. “With research, I will still be able to help people and change their lives.”