IRVINE, Calif. (April 12, 2022)—Averie Perez, a junior at Concordia University Irvine, majoring in biochemistry, has been named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
After two decades of applications from Concordia’s most exemplary students, Averie Perez ‘23 is the university’s first student awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
The Goldwater Scholarship, established by Congress in 1986 in honor of U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, is presented annually to the nation’s top undergraduate scholars in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors applicants, 417 college students were awarded the prestigious scholarship this year.
After participating in Concordia’s Summer Research Institute last summer, Perez said Dr. John Kenney, Professor of Chemistry approached her and said he had a scholarship he wanted her to apply for. Perez had never heard of the Barry Goldwater scholarship until then and was honored that he thought she was a strong candidate.
“Averie's accomplishment speaks so well to her motivation, drive, and academic achievements,” said Dr. Bret Taylor, the School of Arts and Sciences dean. “And highlights our dedicated professors who have come alongside her and many other students looking to service their world through science.”
“Especially noteworthy was Averie's spunky determination to be actively and safely involved in research during the summer months even amid the pandemic,” said Dr. Kenney. “She truly and richly deserves this scholarship in recognition of her dynamic enthusiasm, work ethic, can-do attitude, and lofty professional goals.”
Perez's senior thesis research is impressive in its own right. Her research involves antibiotic and multidrug resistance and treatment strategies and uses zebrafish to determine possible treatment method success. She is currently working on modifying the bacteria and breeding her fish in Concordia’s Marine Lab.
“I was so shocked when I won,” said Perez, ‘23. “It was incredible…This award means that I am on the right path and gives me the confidence to pursue my career goals,” she continued. After graduation, Perez plans to pursue a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology with an emphasis in immunology and infectious diseases.
About Concordia University Irvine
Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a non-profit Christian liberal arts university governed by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). Preparing students for their vocations—their callings in life—Concordia offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs through its six schools—Arts & Sciences, Business & Economics, Christ College, Education, Health & Human Sciences, and the Townsend Institute. Nationally, its undergraduate core curriculum program, Enduring Questions & Ideas, has earned public recognition. Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. The only NCAA DII university in Orange County, Concordia enrolls about 4,000 students annually, and is an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).