Georgia State Senior Noa Erlitzki Selected As Barry M. Goldwater Scholar

Noa Erlitzki, a Georgia State University Honors College student, has been named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, one of 240 award recipients nationwide.

Honors College students Antoinette Charles and Estera Maxim, earned honorable mentions for the Goldwater Scholarship, marking the first time that Georgia State has had three students recognized by the Goldwater Foundation in the same year. noa_erlitzki-small

The Goldwater Scholarship is recognized as one of the most prestigious and competitive research scholarships for undergraduate students. The scholarship program, honoring former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has given 7,921 scholarships worth about $63 million.

“We are extremely proud of our Goldwater award winners as well as the research faculty and Honors College staff who supported and mentored all of our scholars,” said Larry Berman, founding dean of the Honors College. “These are three extraordinary women and their selection is reflective of Georgia State’s commitment to women in STEM research disciplines. It demonstrates once again that when provided pipeline opportunities and institutional support, our students can compete alongside the very best scholars in the country.”

Erlitzki, a senior earning a dual degree in chemistry (B.S./M.S.), was selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,286 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one- and two-year scholarships cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Goldwater Scholarship,” said Erlitzki, “Looking back on the past few years, I had no clue I would be here today. Dr. Gregory Poon’s belief in me, giving me my own project in the lab, made my Georgia State experience. I am so grateful to him for that opportunity. I don’t think I can thank my recommenders enough, in particular Dr. Poon, Dr. Dabney Dixon and Dr. Al Baumstark. They have mentored me and believed in me. They have each helped prepare me for applying for this award and getting me where I am now.

“The Honors College is what brought me to Georgia State and I would not have received the Goldwater without the opportunities and support it has provided me. The guidance I have received over the past two years from Dr. Jennifer Gerz-Escandon, the director of national scholarships and fellowships, stands out. She truly cares about her students.”

A native of Alpharetta, Ga., Erlitzki, works with Poon and contributes to research on the role of water in mediating protein-DNA and compound-DNA binding interactions. These interactions are fundamental to our biology. Understanding them better could lead to advances in treating diseases caused by dysfunctioning protein-DNA interactions.

“Women are still considered a minority in science.” Erlitzski said, “However, the support I have received as a woman in the sciences at Georgia State and throughout this process has been transformative.”

She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry. Partly because of her experience with Crohn’s disease, she has a strong interest in the biophysics behind the causes of certain diseases and how manipulating it could have clinical or pharmaceutical applications.