First-Generation College Student at Duquesne Lands Goldwater Scholarship

A first-generation college student at Duquesne has been selected for a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship Award for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Biological sciences major Zachary J. Resko became one of only 252 sophomores and juniors nationwide to be selected from 1,150 nominees for the nation’s premier undergraduate award in mathematics, science and engineering.

A junior, Resko works in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph McCormick, associate professor and chair of biological sciences in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

“Receiving recognition by the Goldwater Program is important for building a student’s stellar academic resume,” McCormick said. “Zach is a perfect representative of the caliber of students we have in biological sciences. He has worked hard to learn how to think like a scientist and to prepare himself for the rigors of graduate school and a career in academia.”

Resko already has been recognized by the American Society for Microbiology, which provided a $4,000 fellowship stipend to support his work on Using Bacterial Spores for Vaccine Delivery and a $1,000 travel award to present his findings at the society’s Microbe Meeting this June in Boston.

In this work that may one day impact the delivery of vaccines intranasally or through inhalers, Resko has explored the types of fusion that can occur when an antigen is attached to the outside of a bacterial spore protein.

Resko, like all of this year’s Goldwater Scholars, intends to earn a Ph.D. degree. He plans to conduct research in microbiology and teach at the university level.

“It is an honor to be nominated and receive the national recognition for this prestigious award,” Resko said. “The experience of learning how to write fellowship and scholarship applications will be valuable in my future.”

The Goldwater Scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 a year, but, even more importantly, represents the academic achievements and potential of its awardees.

“Zach Resko is the latest of five Goldwater Scholars at Duquesne since we started nominating students in 2012; that’s an amazing achievement,” said Dr. Kathleen Glenister Roberts, who heads the Office for National Fellowships. “In addition, there have been four Honorable Mentions during this run. To have nine undergraduates honored in this way indicates the truly exceptional emphasis on undergraduate research that departments on this campus have created.”