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Ashley Santana, an undergraduate researcher from the Crawford lab receives a highly competitive 2020 Goldwater Scholarship. The awards go to juniors or sophomores who show promise in becoming research leaders in fields such as science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.


Ashley Santana, biomedical sciences and biotechnology major, have received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

The Goldwater Scholarship, named after former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, was established by Congress in 1986, and recognizes college sophomores or juniors who show promise in becoming research leaders in fields such as science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The scholarship is highly competitive—fewer than 400 students received funding nationally  this year.

The scholarship is highly competitive—396 students received funding this year out of 1,343 nominated.

As a Burnett Honors Scholar, Hoppenworth has conducted research on string algorithms and data structures, conducting research at UCF’s string algorithms lab and the Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate, where he did work related to national security.

Santana, a McNair Scholar, has been researching the development of “smart” adhesive wound dressings from electrical stimulation of human dermal fibroblast cells.

“The integration of this technology in an adhesive can potentially prevent bacterial infections and the severity of scarring,” she says.

“I never expected that my involvement in research would bring me this far,” Santana says. “The Goldwater Scholarship is a prestigious award in the life sciences and comes with a community that I am so excited to be a part of.”

In the fall, Santana plans to apply to biotechnology and pharmacology doctoral programs, and eventually become a research scientist seeking to optimize drug delivery for patients and support personalized medicine.

“Ashley has the type of curiosity and perseverance that will enable her to be a research leader in science,” said Kaitlyn Crawford, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at UCF.