Shannon Silva Receives National Award for STEM Studies

Shannon Silva, a biology major and Commonwealth Honors College junior, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, awarded by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

The aim of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scholars to work as scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The Goldwater, a nationally competitive scholarship, supports students with a passion for research and potential to contribute to their disciplines, and who plan to pursue a graduate degree. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

Research has been an important part of Silva’s undergraduate career. The Peabody, Mass., resident joined the Vandenberg Lab in the UMass Amherst Department of environmental health sciences in her sophomore year. She has been evaluating the effect of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the histopathology of mammary tumors and four additional tissue sites that may be targets of metastasis. Silva has previously interned at Cell Signaling Technology and was an Amgen Research Scholar at Duke University in the summer of 2019. This year, she is scheduled to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Gerstner Sloan Kettering. After her anticipated graduation from UMass Amherst in 2021, she hopes to apply her lab research experiences, and her experience as a Goldwater Scholar, to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular cancer biology.

Silva’s nomination for the Goldwater was made possible by UMass Amherst’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA). Advising and careful nurturing of Silva’s application was given by ONSA Director Madalina Akli. Each year, ONSA nominates four sophomores and juniors. ONSA is an advising service available to all UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the university’s robust alumni community.

We are fortunate to have a student who has successfully competed for both these prestigious national fellowships!

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