POTSDAM — Aliaksandra Reutovich of Brooklyn, has become the first SUNY Potsdam student to be named a Goldwater Scholar, receiving the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in America.

A double-major in biochemistry and biology, Reutovich was honored with the 2021-22 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, making her one of just 410 students to receive the award, out of 5,000 nominations from across the country.

“Becoming involved in chemistry research during my freshman year introduced me to the limitless possibilities of science, and how our understanding of diseases truly starts with a great idea at the lab bench. Throughout my time conducting undergraduate research, I have been involved in several research projects in Dr. Fadi Bou-Abdallah’s lab, mainly focused on the major iron storage protein in the body, ferritin. We are working on elucidating the structure-function relationship of heteropolymer ferritins and relating it to explain certain diseases,” Reutovich said in a press release from the college.

Reutovich said this honor follows a lifelong interest in the natural sciences and a passion she has been able to nurture in the labs and in the field, here at SUNY Potsdam.

“I was always fascinated by the world around me and had a drive for intellectual pursuit, so I naturally gravitated towards STEM fields in college. My freshman year of college solidified my interest in biological science, but I also became fascinated by the chemistry that underlies life processes and decided to study biochemistry as well,” she said. “I found an amazing community within the biology and chemistry departments at SUNY Potsdam, and I am most grateful to have been taught and guided in my academic career by such amazing faculty. After obtaining my undergraduate degree, I hope to go on to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. and embark on a dual career as a physician scientist.”

Reutovich has been able to conduct extensive research as an undergraduate, working alongside Dr. Bou-Abdallah in his lab. The professor has received numerous awards in recognition of his work with undergraduates and federal grants in support of his research.

“As coordinator of the Student Fellowship programs on campus, I want to recognize Dr. Bou-Abdallah for his initiative in coordinating with the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning to publicize and prepare our students to apply for the Goldwater Fellowship. He has been a great partner with the LoCAL in supporting undergraduate applied learning experiences on campus. Our students, of course, are the ultimate beneficiaries of his training and mentoring,” said Thomas Baker, director of the Office for Student Research and Creativity, and a professor of history.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields. To learn more, visit https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org.

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