North Central College - Naperville, IL

Biochemistry, computer science student earns Goldwater honorable mention

Print Email Share

April 7, 2011—Grace Muganda says she has spent a lot of time in North Central College’s Science Center over the past four years, conducting independent research, working as a lab assistant and serving as a preceptor for various classes.

All those hours of hard work are paying dividends for Muganda, a senior double-majoring in biochemistry and computer science. She’s earned an honorable mention in the prestigious  Barry M. Goldwater National Scholarship program.

“This means an affirmation that I’m capable of being the scientist I want to become as I move on to graduate school or medical school,” she says.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation was created by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields. The foundation is supported by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Fund, which has been established in the Treasury of the United States to honor former Senator Barry Goldwater.

“Grace has worked extremely hard to reach this level of achievement, including extensive research experiences both on our campus and in the labs of other universities in the region,” says Perry Hamalis, director of the College’s Office of Academic Opportunities and associate professor of religious studies.

Muganda, of Bolingbrook, interned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. She presented her neurobiology research at the 2010 National Conference for Undergraduate Research held at the University of Montana in Missoula.

At North Central, she is president of Focus—a weekly student-led worship experience featuring music, scripture, prayer and reflection—and has worked as a lab assistant for upper-level biology courses.

“I’ve learned communication is key in the science world,” she says. “At North Central I’ve learned how to investigate and the importance of sharing what I’ve learned with others.”

This year, 1,095 students applied for 275 available scholarships, according to the Goldwater Scholarship Program.

North Central offers opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue numerous prestigious national scholarships. Biochemistry and computer science are among more than 55 undergraduate majors offered at North Central College.

Founded in 1861 and celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2011, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. Located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live”—North Central College is just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop. With more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes. Visit to learn more.