Second UT Dallas Student Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Junior Says Award Money Will Help Him Fulfill His Cancer Research Goals

April 4, 2008

For the second time in just three years, a UT Dallas student has been named a recipient of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.  Austin Swafford, a 21-year-old junior from Abita Springs, La., is studying molecular and cell biology and says he will use the award to further his cancer research studies.

Given annually on the basis of academic merit to students planning careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering, Congress established the Goldwater Scholarship in 1986 to honor U.S. Senator and 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including three decades in the Senate.

The award provides sophomore- and junior-level students with financial support for undergraduate studies.  Swafford was one of just 321 students chosen from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants.  He was notified about the honor from the University’s first Goldwater winner, Kassandra McLean, who graduated in 2006 and now attends the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in physics.    

“I’m very glad to bring the prestige of this award to UT Dallas,” Swafford said of the honor.  “It will open up opportunities in the future and provide security for me to further my education.”

Swafford is currently conducting research to demonstrate the first targeted cancer therapy in which antibodies are bound to a double-walled carbon nanotube for the near-infrared removal of tumors.  

He studies under the guidance of Drs. Paul Patano and Rockford Draper in the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute.  He has had internships at Zyvex Corp. and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Swafford is working with faculty and staff to create a minor in nanotechnology at the University.

An active participant in the campus and larger community, Swafford is a McDermott Scholar and a member of the Collegium V honors program, the Chemistry Student Association, Extreme Sports Club and the American Chemical Society.  

He also participates in Destination Imagination, is involved with Habitat for Humanity and has been both president and secretary of Meteor Theatre, a student-run movie screening group on campus.

Swafford plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biotechnology.  He hopes to become a professor and eventually move on to a career in scientific policy.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate honor of its type.  To date, the program has given more than 5,500 awards worth more than $54 million. 


Media contacts: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu;
Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Austin Swafford

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