Chemistry Student Scores Big Prize

Brooklyn, N.Y.—Benjamin Rudshteyn, a junior in the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College who is majoring in chemistry, made campus history when he won a Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and competitive awards for undergraduate students who plan to pursue careers in science, mathematics or engineering.

Rudshteyn is the first Brooklyn College student to win the award since it was established in 1986. He is one of 282 scholars selected out of more than 1,100 applicants this year.

“This will open doors for me,” says Rudshteyn, a Brooklyn native who would like to earn a doctorate and is planning for a career as an industrial chemist or a professor. He added that receiving the honor “makes me feel like an important person.”

Rudshteyn, who grew up in Midwood and is a member of the student board of trustees at Brooklyn College Hillel, had to submit an essay detailing how his present academic work will prepare him for his career. He is currently conducting research with Alexander Greer, professor of chemistry, investigating biochemicals in an effort to determine the origin of life and the possibility of its existence on other planets. He is also conducting research with Greer on possible cancer therapies.

The Goldwater Scholarship is federally funded and managed by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. It is named after the former U.S. senator and Republican presidential nominee. Each year the foundation selects some 300 students who were nominated by their colleges and universities. The purpose of the scholarship program is to help alleviate a shortage of researchers in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Rudshteyn will receive $7,500 from the foundation to spend on tuition, books, and room and board next academic year.

“I was very happy and surprised when I found out the news,” Rudshteyn says. “I immediately ran and told all my professors who wrote recommendations for me.”