UNE student Carolyn Curley awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Caroly Curley (Biochemistry, ’23)
Carolyn Curley (Biochemistry, ’23)

Carolyn Curley (Biochemistry, ’23) is one of just seven recipients from Maine to be awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. She joins five other students from the University of New England to become Goldwater Scholars since 2008 and is the first at UNE to receive the scholarship since 2020.

Established in 1986 in honor of former U.S. Senator and 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarship was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields.

This year, the foundation awarded 417 students with scholarships out of an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors from 433 academic institutions.

Curley is a research student in the lab of Amy Deveau, Ph.D., professor of chemistry in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, where she uses organic chemistry tools to solve biological problems. Currently, Curley and Deveau are researching methods to develop novel antibiotic compounds from a polyphenol called pyrogallol to combat drug resistant bacterial infections.

In addition to her work in Deveau’s lab, Curley is also a forward on the UNE Nor’easters women’s ice hockey team, where she has received player of the week and Academic All-Conference honors. Additionally, Curley is a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Student Leadership Advisory Council, and she is a two-time fellowship awardee from both UNE’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience and the Maine Space Grant Consortium.

Curley has also presented at numerous local research symposia and plans to present her current work at the August 2022 national meeting of the American Chemical Society. A manuscript featuring Curley’s research is currently being drafted featuring the synthesis and characterization of novel antimicrobial compounds with Deveau, microbiology collaborator Kristin Burkholder, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and several other students.

Deveau remarked that Curley’s selection as a Goldwater Scholar is a tribute to her hard work, commitment, and time management over the past several years.

“Carolyn is a first-class undergraduate researcher who is intellectually capable, open minded to new ideas, quick to learn new skills, and respected by all who know her in and out of the classroom,” she said. “As Carolyn's research mentor and professor, it is a pleasure to watch her research skills be refined and interests evolve. That she has made lasting contributions to the science in my lab group is no surprise.”

Nominees for the scholarship must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, be actively involved in research, and have plans to continue with research post-graduation. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Curley said she is honored to have received the award.

“Science is one of my greatest passions in life and being able to participate in undergraduate research has allowed for me to deepen my knowledge in the field,” she said. “Through my research experiences at UNE, I have learned and continue to learn critical skills that will be the backbone of my future career as a scientific researcher. Earning this scholarship has reinforced my dedication and confidence in becoming a productive researcher. I am excited to improve my current skills as well as develop new abilities and interests in other sub-disciplines of chemistry.”