Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 13, 2005

For Second Time in Three Years a Whitworth Student Receives
Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Science

Whitworth sophomore Ashley Gibbs, a physics and biochemistry double major who exemplifies the high caliber of Whitworth's science programs, has joined a select group of undergraduate math, science and engineering students nationwide receiving 2005 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.

"Ashley is one of those wonderful students who combines ability with discipline," says Assistant Professor of Physics John Larkin. "She has excellent intellectual abilities, communication skills, maturity, and perhaps most important, a passion for science."

Gibbs is one of two Whitworth students to receive the Goldwater award in the last three years. Caleb Hug, a 2004 Whitworth graduate, received the scholarship in 2003; he is now in a computer-science doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Among its peer institutions in the region - Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Washington State University - Whitworth is the only institution from which students have been selected to receive the award in the last three years.

"A Goldwater scholarship is the highest undergraduate-student achievement in the sciences," says Richard Stevens, Whitworth's Goldwater faculty advisor and associate professor of physics. "The fact that two Whitworth students have been selected for the scholarships in the past three years demonstrates the extraordinary talent of both Ashley and Caleb, and reflects highly on the strength and quality of the Whitworth physics, computer-science, and chemistry departments that these Goldwater Scholars represent."

From a field of nearly 1,100 top students nationwide, Gibbs was among 320 Goldwater Scholars selected to receive - on the basis of academic merit - one- and two-year scholarships of up to $7,500 per year. Gibbs received a two-year award that will help cover tuition for her junior and senior years at Whitworth.

"I am very grateful for the help I received in the application process from my science professors," says Gibbs, a Spokane native. "I feel that winning the award is a result of all of the opportunities I have been given to excel at Whitworth in classes and in conducting research. The faculty of the physics, chemistry and biology departments have helped me to excel in class."

During summer 2004, Gibbs worked with Larkin on an experimental study of photosensitive molecules that belong to a class of drugs used in the light-activated cancer treatment called photodynamic therapy. This summer Gibbs will work at SRI International, where she will conduct research on biomedical optics and imaging for cancer detection.

After graduating from Whitworth in 2007, Gibbs plans to enter a doctoral program in oncology. She is particularly interested in programs at the University of Michigan, Boston University, the University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in memory of former Senator Barry M. Goldwater (R-Arizona) and is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Most Goldwater Scholars go on to Ph.D. programs where they continue to receive prestigious scholarships and fellowships for their graduate study. Recent Goldwater Scholars have received 55 Rhodes Scholarships, 55 Marshall Awards (including about a fifth of all U.S. students receiving each award in 2004), and numerous other distinguished fellowships and scholarships.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


John Larkin, assistant professor of physics, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4865 or jlarkin@whitworth.edu.

Richard Stevens, associate professor of physics, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4508 or rstevens@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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