Arizona State University student Lauren Harstad is the recipient of a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship, established by Congress in 1986, is the most prestigious award for undergraduate STEM majors.
Harstad, a junior, is a student researcher in Assistant Professor Kyle Biegasiewicz’s lab, in the School of Molecular Sciences.
"Lauren has been an undergraduate researcher in my group since my arrival at Arizona State University," Biegasiewicz said. "In just a little over two years, she has contributed to a scientific manuscript and has also single-handedly established three other research projects in our laboratory that are nearing publication.”
Her academic career, like many others the past two years, was impacted by the pandemic.
“I feel like things got off to a rocky start,” Hardstad said. "My classes and lab work were online for the first two years, so I didn’t get to experience lab courses the way I’d expected.”
There is no question Harstad has excelled in her studies and research.
In addition to winning a Goldwater Scholarship, Harstad was also awarded the 2022 ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This award allows her to focus on a research project throughout the summer. Last summer, Harstad had an internship in Boston with Merck, performing pharmaceutical research.
“My summer internship with Merck was very rewarding,” Harstad said. “One of the best decisions I could have made as a freshman was joining a research lab at ASU. I learned a lot of skills and techniques that have allowed me to grow and have meaningful experiences.”
Harstad says she is grateful to have won both of these scholarships, which allow her to focus on her studies and research and also keep balance in her life. In addition to volunteering in a lab, she enjoys going to the theater with friends, baking cupcakes and making fettuccine alfredo with homemade noodles. Harstad also plays the piano, a talent she began to develop in fifth grade.
“Her ability to do all of this while continuously demonstrating the highest level of approachability and professionalism has been nothing short of inspiring to everyone around her,” Biegasiewicz said. “Lauren has been an integral part of our research program, and her commitment, determination and passion for science has made her a truly special undergraduate to mentor. We are so proud of her accomplishments and can't wait to see all of the wonderful things she does in her graduate and professional career."