Gillan Wins Goldwater Scholarship
James Gillan, a sophomore chemistry/mathematics major from Concord, has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
The award allots up to $7,500 a year to sophomores and juniors at American colleges and universities intending to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering fields.
Gillan is among 323 Goldwater winners selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of nearly 1,100 students nominated by college and university faculties. The award will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Gillan is joined in the honor by Occidental junior Jeffrey Cannon of Austin, Texas. The pair are the 30th and 31st Occidental students to win a Goldwater since 1990.
“I cannot really express how overcome I am by the feeling of being chosen a scholar,” Gillan said. “I came to Oxy with the purpose of pursuing undergraduate chemistry research so that I could compete for national awards like the Goldwater. To see it all come together like this is a most rewarding experience.”
Gillan’s current research focuses on a class of enzymes called cytochromes P450. These proteins exist in all human beings and perform a wide array of physiological functions, such as drug metabolism and hormone synthesis. Chemists around the world are studying the enzyme so that they, in part, can better predict the effect of pharmaceuticals. Gillan is studying the specific behavior of the enzyme outside the body in hopes of determining better ways to capture its catalytic potential.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency honoring the late Arizona senator. In its 18-year history, the foundation has awarded 4,885 scholarships worth about $48 million.