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Chemistry majors Anton Barybin, Emma Cosner, Jonah Stiel nominated for Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Monday, March 15, 2021

LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas students who have been actively involved in undergraduate research during their university careers are competing for Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, regarded as the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics.

The students’ applications are coordinated by the Office of Fellowships in Undergraduate Studies. 

KU’s nominees:

  • Anton Barybin, a junior majoring in chemistry 
  • Emma Cosner, a junior majoring in chemistry and minoring in physics 
  • Mary Sevart, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering 
  • Jonah Stiel, a junior majoring in chemistry. 

Sixty-eight KU students have received Goldwater scholarships since they first were awarded in 1989. Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers. 

The Goldwater Foundation trustees will announce the 2021 winners in late March. The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to $7,500 annually. Each year the trustees award about 450 scholarships. 

Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career goals and three faculty recommendations. Students interested in applying next year should contact campus representative Anne Wallen, program director for the Office of Fellowships. 

All the nominees are members of the University Honors Program. Brief descriptions of their research experience and career plans follow. 

Anton BarybinAnton Barybin, from Lawrence, is the son of Misha and Ekaterina Barybin and a graduate of Lawrence Free State High School. Barybin is majoring in chemistry. In 2020 he was selected for the Beckman Scholars Program, a 15-month program designed to enrich the development of young scientists. He was also awarded a Kansas IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) scholarship. He serves as a research ambassador for the Undergraduate Research Center. Barybin began research in the lab of Susan Lunte, Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, in the summer before his freshman year at KU. Barybin’s research focuses on the design of separation-based sensors for monitoring neurotransmitters. Barybin is co-author on a peer-reviewed publication from Lunte’s lab and has presented his research at a regional meeting of the American Chemical Society and at a K-INBRE Symposium. He also recently presented virtually at the 2021 Pittcon conference. 

Emma CosnerEmma Cosner, from Overland Park, is the daughter of Ron and Sheri Cosner and a graduate of Notre Dame de Sion High School. Cosner is majoring in chemistry and minoring in physics. This semester, Cosner received her second Undergraduate Research Award for the Center for Undergraduate Research. She holds leadership positions and performs outreach through groups such as the Society of Physics Students and Chemistry Club. Cosner joined the lab of James Blakemore, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, as a sophomore. Her research there focuses on harnessing renewable energy using electrocatalysis. She has recently begun research with Christopher Rogan, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, testing mechanical sensors for the CERN Large Hadron Collider. 

Mary SevartMary Sevart, from Wichita, is the daughter of Eric and Karen Sevart and a graduate of Maize High School. Sevart is majoring in chemical engineering with emphasis on environmental engineering. She has participated in the Accenture Innovation Challenge Club and the KU Marching Band. During the spring of her freshman year, Sevart joined the Biodiesel Fuel Initiative lab of Susan Williams, Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering. Sevart is also active as secretary for the KU Biodiesel Initiative student organization. She has received scholarships from the School of Engineering and from the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. Sevart recently received an Undergraduate Research Award from the Center for Undergraduate Research. 

Jonah StielJonah Stiel, from Topeka, is the son of Debbie Stiel and Steve Stiel and a graduate of Washburn Rural High School. Stiel is majoring in chemistry. In 2019 he was selected for the Beckman Scholars Program, a 15-month program designed to enrich the development of young scientists, and he received an Undergraduate Research Award from the Center for Undergraduate Research at KU. In 2020, he was selected as an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Scholar. He serves as a research ambassador with the Center for Undergraduate Research and is president of the KU Chemistry Club. Stiel began conducting research in the lab of James Blakemore, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, while still in high school. His research focuses on environmentally beneficial catalysis. Stiel is co-author on a peer-reviewed publication from the Blakemore lab and has presented at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society. 


Chemistry department receives more than $8.5 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation
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