John Watters receives Honorable Mention from Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation

John Watters, a second-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation with an Honorable Mention.

The foundation bestows the Goldwater Scholarship on students who excel in academics and who plan to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines. This year the foundation named 211 Goldwater Scholars and 281 Honorable Mentions out of 1,280 applicants.

Watters, 20, is a sophomore from Raleigh, NC majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology. The son of David and Charlotte Watters, he is currently a member of the Brustad Lab, where his research is focused on improving biocatalysis through computational efforts guided towards finding novel and useful protein scaffolds. While John was a high school student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (class of 2016), he worked as part of the Soper Group, previously at UNC-CH, to assess the viability of a new generation micro-impedance detector for counting circulating tumor cells from a blood sample.

“We are so proud of John’s achievements in both chemistry and biology,” said Professor Inger Brodey, Director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “His Honorable Mention is thanks in part to the hard work of the Goldwater committee, chaired by Professor Justin Sawon, in identifying and encouraging our finest undergraduate STEM scholars.”

Watters is a Pete Conrad Scholar and was one of two delegates representing North Carolina at the 2016 National Youth Science Camp. Outside of science, John is an Eagle Scout and is a member of UNC-CH’s nationally competitive club Ultimate Frisbee team, UNC Darkside.

After graduation, Watters plans to pursue his Ph.D. in biological chemistry and one day run a lab of his own.