Sarah Altman, a junior majoring in biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has earned a Goldwater Scholarship to support her pursuit of a research career.
A La Vista native, Altman has conducted research through Nebraska’s Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences program and the National Institutes of Health’s INBRE Scholars program. Her work includes laboratory experiences with Jung Yul Lim at Nebraska, investigating breast cancer metastasis; Shi-Hua Xiang at Nebraska, investigating treatments against RNA viruses; and Maneesh Jain at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, investigating vaccines for pancreatic cancer.
Altman, who is also a member of the University Honors Program, hopes to earn a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering and work in genetic engineering and biomaterials — applying that knowledge to cancer immunotherapy technologies. She said she wants to work at a university, teaching students, conducting research and perhaps patenting some technologies.
Altman said she is excited about the opportunity to advance cancer immunotherapy.
“(The field) is so new and rapidly expanding, so I really do have an opportunity, especially with the help of the Goldwater Scholarship, to be at the forefront and work with technologies as they are being developed and improved,” she said.
Altman said she hopes her research will help improve public health. While there is no cure for cancer, she said immunotherapy techniques hold a lot of promise.
“My research efforts, and the efforts of everybody in the field and beyond, can work toward creating those big, tangible impacts for public health,” she said.
Altman is among 417 college sophomores and juniors nationally who were awarded 2022 Goldwater Scholarships from a pool of 1,242 natural science, engineering and mathematics students nominated by 433 academic institutions.
The scholarship, which honors the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses and is the pre-eminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
At Nebraska, the Office of National and International Fellowships advises and nominates undergraduate candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members may contact Courtney Santos, director of national and international fellowships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.