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Gwen Eichfeld ’25 Receives Goldwater Scholarship

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Gwen Eichfeld ’25 has been named as a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. She was also recently chosen as a Harvard-Amgen Scholar.

The , one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics in the United States, identifies and supports college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields. Aside from the stipend and support, the Goldwater scholarship is often an integral stepping stone in the scholar’s research and scientific career.

Eichfeld is a neuroscience major from Winnetka, Ill. In high school, she was named a finalist at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her independent research in computational biology and epidemiology and published this work in a peer-reviewed journal. At the beginning of her Colgate career, Eichfeld joined Professor Jeanne Hansen’s research investigating ovarian cancer cells. She also studied the microbiome through a research project with Professor Ken Belanger. Eichfeld credits these experiences with teaching her foundational lab skills and giving her the opportunity to practice them. 

After her sophomore year, Eichfeld interned at the National Institutes of Health where she researched rare genetic diseases in the nematode C. elegans. Her work at the NIH became the focus for her Goldwater application. Currently, she is working with Professor Priscilla Van Wynsberghe to understand the genes underlying developmental timing in C. elegans.

Outside of the lab, Eichfeld is a member of the Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey team, which won the ECAC championship this year and advanced to the NCAA’s Frozen Four. She grew up playing hockey, and this was the driving force for her to attend Colgate. Eichfeld, a Golden Fellow, also co-founded the neuroscience club on campus and is a certified EMT — she is the head first responder for club and intramural sports. 

This summer, Eichfeld will travel to Cambridge, Mass., where she has been accepted into the .

“The Amgen program is an opportunity to collaborate and learn from diverse peers and mentors who have the confidence to pursue interesting questions in their fields,” Eichfeld states. “It is also an opportunity to continue to expand my curiosity and problem-solving skills as a scientist.”

The Amgen Scholars Program at Harvard is a 10-week residential summer research program for undergraduates interested in doing research in biotechnology and related biomedical sciences. Scholars conduct hands-on, innovative research in cutting-edge facilities of Harvard under the mentorship of faculty and direct project supervisors. Laboratory hosts are affiliated with a variety of divisions of the University as well as Harvard’s research institutes and professional schools.

After Colgate, Eichfeld plans to obtain an MD/PhD focusing on neuroscience. She aspires to conduct research as well as design and implement science-based therapies at the intersection of neuroscience, genetics, and disease.

Eichfeld wants to share with her peers that “preparing fellowship applications is real work, like having another class, but it’s all been worth it. Writing the essays has helped me to see and describe my strengths and appreciate how much and how fast I am learning from my professors, mentors, and peers.”

To learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship, Amgen Scholars Program, or other national competitive awards, reach out to Meghan Niedt, mniedt@colgate.edu, in the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships to schedule an appointment.