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New Mexico State University student named Goldwater Scholar

New Mexico State University student Marzyeh Ghassemi has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, a $7,500 award that recognizes students for their academic merit in the areas of engineering, mathematics and science.



Marzyeh Ghassemi was one of 320 students nationwide awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for the 2005-2006 school year. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

olarship, named for U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. This year, 320 students were chosen for the award out of 1,091 nominees.

"This scholarship will open up terrific opportunities for Marzyeh," said Jason Ackleson, associate director of the NMSU Honors College and director of the Office of National Scholarships. "The Goldwater is one of the most competitive undergraduate awards in the nation. This goes to show the caliber of students we have here on campus. It also shows we have what it takes to be successful in these types of competitions."

Ackleson hopes the award will aid Ghassemi in her career and says it may be a factor in graduate school selection and other scholarships. The $7,500 covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board.

Marzyeh is a 19-year-old senior pursuing degrees in electrical engineering, computer science and mathematics and will graduate in fall 2005. She plans to attend graduate school and medical school and is looking into the University of Houston or Rice University.

Marzyeh was enrolled at NMSU at the age of 15 after being home schooled at an early age by her mother, Maryam Ghassemi. Marzyeh said she wanted to learn to read at the age of four when another girl teased her that she couldn't.

Her father, Abbas Ghassemi, is the director of the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC) at NMSU.

Marzyeh is involved in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Marzyeh initially began pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. While taking a programming class as part of her major, she enjoyed it so much that she declared computer science as a second major. She then found out she would only need a few more classes to have a mathematics degree, so she added it as well.

"I would really like to become a biomedical engineer because it involves problem-solving and applying concepts to human problems," said Marzyeh. "This scholarship will help me achieve my goal of doing research that will help people and have a social benefit."

In its 17-year history, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded 4,562 scholarships worth more than $45 million.