Ball State University junior Griffin Thomas has been awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of America’s most prestigious scholarships for undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research.

Mr. Thomas will receive up to $7,500 toward his educational expenses per full academic year.

Majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, Mr. Thomas transferred to Ball State from Ivy Tech Community College in January 2022. He plans to pursue a doctorate in marine biology to be able to launch a research career focused on the genetic engineering of marine invertebrates to aid in their resistance and adaptation to factors caused by climate change, such as ocean acidification.

“It is humankind’s responsibility to implement strategies to mitigate negative effects on keystone species,” said Mr. Thomas, of Anderson, Ind. “I want to work to protect the beautiful diversity of life we have here on Earth.”

Since February 2022, Mr. Thomas has been working in the lab of Dr. Wei Shi, assistant professor of Organic Chemistry at Ball State. This summer, Mr. Thomas plans to conduct advanced research in either marine biology or genetics. Also at Ball State, Mr. Thomas is involved in The Wildlife Society and the Genetics Club. At Ivy Tech, he served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Mr. Thomas is the 14th Ball State student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, while nine others have received honorable mention. He was one of 413 sophomores and juniors selected this year from a pool of 1,267 students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

Established in 1986 by the U.S. Congress, The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation serves as a tribute to the late Barry Goldwater, a military veteran and U.S. Senator from Arizona.