Junior Biology Major Named Goldwater Scholar

Thursday, April 6, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (April 6, 2017) — Marisa Egan, a junior biology major at Saint Joseph’s University, has been named a recipient of the 2017 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The prestigious scholarship, given annually to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Egan, who also holds minors in mathematics, philosophy and chemistry and is a John P. McNulty Scholar at SJU, is one of only 240 students nationwide to receive a scholarship from a pool of 1,286 applicants. An additional 307 nominees were named Honorable Mentions.

Since her freshman year, Egan, a King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, native, has worked in the lab of Shantanu Bhatt, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, conducting research on the pathogenic bacterium Escherichia albertii. The bacterium, which is in the same family as E. coli, attacks the intestines, causing diarrheal problems. It is drug resistant, has no vaccine, and largely affects infants in developing countries, though some cases have appeared in adults in Japan and Germany. Egan and Dr. Bhatt were the first research team to successfully create such a mutation in the bacterium since it was identified 25 years ago. Their research was published last year in Biological Procedures Online. Egan was the lead author. She has also co-authored sevearl other papers.

“Marisa is one of the most gifted students to have ever graced my classroom,” Bhatt says. “Ever since I have known her, she has exhibited uninhibited enthusiasm in learning all that she can from her academic journey. It’s students like her that teach teachers so much and serve as a motivator to go the extra mile for our students.”

Egan says she is honored to be a Goldwater Scholarship recipient. “I know that I would not have been able to attain this achievement without the overwhelming support that I have received from my parents, peers and professors, especially Dr. Bhatt,” she says. “As a Goldwater Scholar, I hope to continue pursuing my academic, research, and leadership goals in a balanced and refreshed manner, inspired by the SJU community around me.”

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served as a longtime military officer and on the armed forces, intelligence, Indian affairs, commerce, science and transportation committees in Congress.

Media Contact

Jeffrey Martin '04, '05 (M.A.), Senior Associate Director, University Communications, 610-660-3223, jeffrey.martin@sju.edu  


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni — over 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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