12:59 PM

Two CSTEM Students Awarded Prestigious Scholarship

Two Cal State San Marcos students have received a prestigious national scholarship that recognizes leadership potential in research science.

Sebastian Aguero and Valeria Castellanos Rodriguez are the first students from CSUSM ever to be awarded a Barry Goldwater scholarship. They are among 413 students nationwide, and only six from the California State University system, to receive the award from a pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors across the country.

Both students will be given up to $7,500 for each of the next two years.

Aguero is a sophomore chemistry major and a Targeted Learning Community scholar, which is a National Science Foundation-funded program for chemistry and biochemistry students who are academically talented and financially burdened. Last summer, he participated in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, where his research focused on analyzing biological samples from bacterial on an ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometer.

Aguero will be participating in another REU experience this summer at Scripps Research in La Jolla. When he returns to CSUSM in the fall, he will continue his course-based independent research projects in the lab of Robert Iafe, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Rodriguez is a sophomore biology major with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology. She participated in CSUSM’s Summer Scholars program last year, with her project focused on the morphological changes of breast cancer cells, and she’s a researcher in the lab of biology professor Carlos Luna Lopez. This summer, she will continue her breast cancer research through an REU program at CSUSM.

Rodriguez also is an ambassador for The Alliance, which helps promote higher education in the sciences by giving presentations to K-12 students. 

“As a first-generation Latina student, this award represents my determination to achieve a Ph.D. degree in cancer biology or cell biology,” Rodriguez said.

Since 1989, more than 10,000 scholarships have been awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The organization is named for the five-term U.S. senator from Arizona who was the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States in 1964.

Media Contact

Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist
bhiro@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7306