Melanie Sorman – Goldwater Scholar

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is considered to be the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences, and is awarded to around 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide each year. UW-Whitewater & the Undergraduate Research program are proud to say that, Melanie Sorman, one of our own, has recently received this renowned award.

 “I’m just simply humbled and I still can’t believe that I received this amazing scholarship!”

 Melanie is a junior here at UW-Whitewater and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geography. She is also conducting research with her Undergraduate Research mentor, Rex Hanger, in paleoecology, the branch of ecology dealing with the relations and interactions between ancient life forms and their environment.


“I do research in paleoecology studying regional mass extinctions in events called Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAE).  I examine fossils that we collect from places like Texas, Nevada, Nebraska, etc. and examine the trends during these events to determine the cause of these mass extinctions.”


Melanie’s academics and research accomplishments made her a prime candidate to receive this award.

 “I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished in my three short years at Whitewater and it’s made me realize that without the help of my mentor and Whitewater’s research programs, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to apply for this scholarship.”

 Melanie says that receiving this award will also help her to cover college expenses and help to solidify her plans of going to graduate school to receive a PhD in geology with an emphasis in paleoecology.

Melanie will be spending the summer interning at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. doing research in micropaleontology with a Smithsonian professor. In the fall of 2016, she plans to travel to Scotland in order to conduct research with a Scottish professor at the University of Edinburgh.

UW-Whitewater is proud to call Melanie Sorman one of our own, a Warhawk. Her future looks promising, and we will definitely be seeing important research results from her in the future. Congrats Melanie!



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