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MassBay Student Wins Recognition from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Suhaily Penix  

WELLESLEY HILLS (April 2, 2015) — Massachusetts Bay Community College student Suhaily Penix has received Honorable Mention recognition from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation, the awarding body for the highest national undergraduate prize for science, engineering, and mathematics.

Penix is the only student from a community college to be recognized this year by the prestigious foundation, which also awarded students from research powerhouses, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Tufts, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins University.

“I am truly honored,” said Penix, 35, lives in Hyde Park with her husband and three daughters, ages 14, 11, and 7. “I have worked really hard to provide a better future for my girls, to show them that it’s important not just to follow your dreams, but to give it your all throughout the process.”

Penix will be the first graduate in the college’s history to receive three separate associate of science degrees in biotechnology, marine biotechnology, and forensic DNA science. Penix, who is awaiting decision letters from some of the state’s top four-year institutions, plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and eventually a Ph.D., in marine biology.

&#Through an internship with Boston University, Suhaily paired with researchers there to study gene regulation in fish models and its response to membrane receptor-mediated extracellular signaling. Penix currently serves in leadership role within the biotechnology department as chief mentor to new students.

Dr. Bruce A. Jackson, Penix’s faculty mentor and the chair of the biotechnology and forensic DNA science department at MassBay said: “Suhaily possesses a superb intellect and a sense of purpose that is powerful and inspiring to witness. There are few students more gifted, more scholastically broad, or more passionate and committed to the field of scientific research than Suhaily.”

“MassBay has provided me with the tools I need to be successful, and Dr. Jackson has helped me in more ways than I can count,” Penix said. “He has guided me, challenged me, and made opportunities available to me that I have never thought I would have.”

Penix plans to pursue bachelor’s degree and, eventually, a doctorate in marine biology after her graduation from MassBay. She is currently awaiting decision from Wellesley College, Harvard University, and Brandeis University.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served the United States for 56 years as a soldier, statesman, and U.S. Senator. The Goldwater Scholarships go to college students who intend to pursue research careers in science, engineering, and mathematics, and is considered the premier scholarship award of its type in these fields.

Since 1996, MassBay has produced a total of 20 Goldwater Scholars, more than all of the other community colleges in the United States combined and more than many four-year institutions.

MassBay Community College is a comprehensive, open-access college dedicated to student learning and achievement through academically rigorous courses and programs. MassBay awards associate degrees and certificates in more than 70 academic programs in the liberal arts and in career-driven fields, such as business, health sciences, and automotive technology. On the college’s three campuses in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland, as well as online, MassBay offers day, evening, and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career-minded life-long learners.

More information about MassBay and the upcoming academic semesters can be found at, or by calling (781) 239-2411.