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SOU student receives Goldwater Scholarship

Sarah Emsley

A Southern Oregon University junior majoring in life sciences is one of 410 recipients nationwide of the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious U.S. award that recognizes the research work of undergraduates in math, science and engineering.

Goldwater Scholars each receive as much as $7,500 annually for tuition, fees and room and board, along with national recognition for their undergraduate research. SOU’s Goldwater Scholar, Sarah Emsley, has been involved in multiple research projects at SOU, including a recent capstone in microbiology that examined the effects of dietary curcumin on the gut microbiome of fruit flies.

Emsley has since been awarded two more scholarships for next year — the Cora Styles Memorial Scholarship for $1,300 and the Osher Reentry Scholarship for $5,000.

Emsley, 29, was born in Connecticut, grew up in Sacramento as part of a career-oriented family and was working as an emergency medical technician in Medford — where she owns a townhome — when she restarted her academic career in 2019 as a part-time SOU student seeking to finish her bachelor’s degree. She now expects to graduate in June 2022 with her degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, then will move on to a doctoral program in immunology.

Emsley is the first Goldwater Scholarship recipient at SOU since 2007, and one of seven this year from the state of Oregon, joining one each from Reed College and the University of Oregon, and four from Oregon State University. A total of 1,256 students from 438 colleges and universities were nominated for this year’s scholarships — no school may nominate more than four students.