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MU student receives honorable mention in Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship competition

On April 8, 2014


Marshall University junior Tuesday B. Moats received an honorable mention at the 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship competition.

Moats, a double major in microbiology and ecology/evolutionary biology, was one of 200 students that applied for the scholarship throughout the nation. As a result, Moats received an honorable mention due to her outstanding application.

Jeff Kovatch, an assistant professor of biological sciences, has served as Moats’ mentor throughout her undergraduate education. Kovatch said Moats’ dedication to her field has gotten her national attention, which is something that most students never achieve.

“An honorable mention is pretty prestigious to get as an undergraduate student in the U. S.,” Kovatch said. “In terms of schools that have students that get recognized in this particular competition, a lot of them are Ivy League.”

Kovatch said Moats shows a mature ability to overcome obstacles, which is a very important skill to master in this field.

“When people do research in science, they often hit road blocks,” Kovatch said. “You can’t find information, you can’t get interviews, or something goes wrong with an experiment and you have to start all over again, which happened to Tuesday. We figured out a problem with an experiment after five or six weeks and we had to repeat the whole thing and a lot of undergraduate students don’t deal with that well, but Tuesday was very mature about it. She regrouped and started repeating the experiment immediately.”

Kovatch said Moats is very deserving of the honorable mention.

“She has fun doing things that most people would find not so fun,” Kovatch said. “She deserves this honor. She’s done great and I’m really proud of her.”

Moats became interested in the scholarship competition after she heard the president of the scholarship board speak about the fellowship on campus.

“As soon as I heard him talk about it, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue,” Moats said. “Their statement for the students that they target described me perfectly.”

Moats said the honorable mention has given her the extra motivation and drive to achieve her goals after her undergraduate graduation in May 2015.

“I received an honorable mention because they felt I had a strong application,” Moats said. “I want to go to graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in ecology/evolutionary biology. The honorable mention has shown me that I am able to achieve really difficult goals, so I feel more confident that I will be accepted to higher-quality graduate schools.”

Morgan M. Switzer can be contacted at

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