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Biological engineering senior lands $10,000 NCMR scholarship

Senior biological engineering student received a $10,000 NCMR scholarship for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Biological engineering senior Bryant Harris’ future fell into place when he learned he had been awarded a $10,000 research scholarship from the National Consortium for Measurement and Signature Intelligence Research (NCMR). The scholarship program was established to encourage students to consider technical career paths within the intelligence community.

“I was overwhelmed with joy when I found out that I had received this scholarship,” said Harris, who has been working three years in the lab of Engineering Professor Shubhra Gangopadhyay on nano-sensor platforms. Scholarship recipients’ significant undergraduate research plays a role in their selection.

One of the eligibility criteria is that students be working on projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Gangopadhyay’s NSF-sponsored work on field deployable biological and chemical agent detection platforms using nano-sensors that the research group has developed, qualifies.

“I’m really interested in sensor platforms because of their versatility, covering a wide rage of applications including biomedical, radiation and national security,” Harris said. “Field sensors are really important because in many cases we have the treatment for the things we are attempting to detect.”

As a past McNair scholar and an engineering honors student, this isn’t the first scholarship Harris has received, though it is certainly is the most generous. The NCMR scholarship grant will cover Harris’ tuition, textbooks and housing for the 2010-2011 academic year, enabling him to concentrate more fully on coursework and research.

As a condition of accepting the funds, he had to agree to participate in NCMR’s Scholars Reserve Program, which he explained, simply means that he will have to keep NCMR updated on current contact information, employment and career development for five years after he graduates.

The young researcher said that he is currently applying to top tier Ph.D. programs in biological engineering, hoping to earn a doctorate developing nano-sensor detection platforms.

“My goal is to pursue a career path contributing to society through detection for medical and national security purposes,” he said.