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“It is an absolute honor, following in the footsteps of the 19 previous winners. You know, before you start school, you get a tour of the lab. The first thing Dr. Jackson shows you is the wall with all the Goldwater Scholars. That’s where you want to be. This award means that I can actually pursue school further and follow my dreams of becoming a scientist. It is a great honor.”
Hometown: Framingham via Orlando, Florida
Major: Biotechnology: DNA Forensic Science
Lindsay Schulman knew she wanted to go to college, but for years after high school she never found the right time to start. But she found the time in the fall of 2012 and has made the most of it. After enrolling in MassBay’s Forensic DNA Science Associate Degree Program, in March 2014, she earned a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship – the highest undergraduate honor for science, engineering and math in the entire nation.
Lindsay grew up outside of Orlando, Florida, graduating from Lake Mary High School in 2002. After graduation she moved to Fort Lauderdale, working as an administrative assistant and doing data entry. She says she always had an affinity for forensic science, but really didn’t see an opportunity to pursue it in Florida.
By the end of 2011, she moved with her husband and son to Framingham, and opportunity found her.
“I received a flyer from MassBay in the mail, and I saw that they offered a Biotechnology: Forensic DNA associate degree program,” she says. “I always intended to go to college, but I needed something to spark the initiative. That flyer was it.”
Lindsay had been working in Framingham as a receptionist for a law firm that specialized in foreclosures. As the first point of contact, she often dealt with unhappy people – “It was an awful job,” she says. She had held on to the flyer, and decided to make a change in her work life. In the summer of 2012 she attended orientation at MassBay in Framingham. She also took the placement test for math and English.
“I was nervous,” she says with a smile, “Being out of high school for ten years, and then right off the bat having to take a test was tough!”
She made it through that, and enrolled in the Biotechnology: Forensic DNA program in the fall of 2012.
“In my first semester I was a nervous wreck and basically just kept to myself. But the professors were extremely supportive, and I loved being in the lab. The students really became my family. And as an older student who had been out in the world a little bit, I really wanted to study. I realized that my passion was lit,” she says.
Lindsay encouraged study groups and homework sessions with her fellow classmates. “I always found the time to help others in my classes who were finding the course work difficult,” she says. “When it comes to science I want others to feel the passion I have, so my patience to explain it one time or 100 times is a pleasure. There is not a better feeling when another person begins to understand, and I was a part of that.” She carried that enthusiasm outside the classroom, being an active member of the on-campus Science Club as well.
It seems her passion for education has been infectious at home as well. “My four-year-old son Micah likes to practice his writing when I’m researching,” she says proudly. “I’ve already got him doing scientific experiments like building underwater volcanoes. It’s been fun.”
Taking advantage of winter and summer courses, and shouldering a full course load, Lindsay has managed to stay on track to graduate in May, 2014, two years after enrolling. At MassBay, she has been captivated by the role of genetics in evolution.
Her application to the Goldwater selection committee was about investigating the molecular processes that govern evolution at the DNA level between humans and the vectors that transmit diseases to human populations. She is trying to identify universal DNA signal-motifs that could be shared by some organisms that allow and direct co-evolution. “I really love the molecular world,” she says enthusiastically.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Science and Engineering, which recognizes academic excellence in science and mathematics, is a Congressional award under the auspices of the sitting president of the United States and is the nation's highest and most prestigious science scholarship. The program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.
Lindsay became the 20th Goldwater Scholar in MassBay’s history, placing MassBay among elite four-year institutions around the nation. No other community college has produced more than three.
“It is an absolute honor, following in the footsteps of the 19 previous winners,” says Lindsay, “You know, before you start school, you get a tour of the lab. The first thing Dr. Jackson shows you is the wall with all the Goldwater Scholars. That’s where you want to be. This award means that I can actually pursue school further and follow my dreams of becoming a scientist. It is a great honor.”
Lindsay Schulman graduates from MassBay in May 2014 with an Associate Degree in Biotechnology: Forensic DNA Science. She intends to transfer her credits to UMass-Lowell to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology, and ultimately intends to earn a Doctorate in Molecular Genetics. In March 2014, she earned the most prestigious undergraduate award in America, being named a Goldwater Scholar. She became the 20th Goldwater Scholar from MassBay.