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Kansas State University junior named Goldwater scholar 

Friday, April 26, 2024


MANHATTAN — Helen Winters, junior in biology and fisheries, wildlife, conservation and environmental biology, Bennington, is Kansas State University's 85th Goldwater scholar.

Winters received the prestigious recognition from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater from Arizona, the scholarship was awarded to 438 college students across the country for the 2024 competition. Awardees receive up to $7,500 annually for college-related expenses. Winters has been active in undergraduate research and intends to pursue a career in mathematics, science or engineering — a requirement of the scholarship.

"Helen is an outstanding addition to K-State's Goldwater scholar tradition and a great example of how our programming, from her CAT community to membership in the University Honors Program to her recent receipt of a Chapman Arts and Sciences Development Grant, supports our students in achieving great things," said Beth Powers, director of K-State's Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships.

Winters, who is studying conservation biology as well as ecology and evolutionary biology, is an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Loretta Johnson, professor of biology. They are researching climate adaptation in 26 populations of big bluestem grass, a dominant native tallgrass species.

"I hope to become a prairie ecologist, with a focus on conservation and grassland plant interactions and research topics such as how to control invasive plants or how to restore native habitat," Winters said. "The Goldwater scholarship will help push me toward this goal."

Winters has presented her research at K-State's fall and spring undergraduate research symposiums, the Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol, the Kansas Academy of Science annual meeting and the K-State Spring Biology Undergraduate Research Forum. She also plans to present at the Botanical Society of America national conference in June 2024.

At K-State, she is a member of the University Honors Program and the Wildlife Society, and she will be in the Biology Ambassadors program next year.

A graduate of Bennington High School, Helen is the daughter of Eric and Sheri Winters.

Kansas State University students interested in applying for nationally competitive scholarships should contact Powers, director of Scholar Development and Undergraduate Research and the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, a bethpowers@k-state.edu.

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Helen Winters

Helen Winters,Kansas State University junior in biology and fisheries, wildlife, conservation and environmental biology, has been named a Goldwater scholar. | Download this photo.