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Sara DibrellSara Dibrell ’18

Seguin, TX

A University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Top Scholar and Honors College student has been awarded the distinguished Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Sara Dibrell, a biochemistry major from Seguin, Texas, is the second Roadrunner in consecutive years to ever receive the award.

The scholarship is widely considered the nation’s most prestigious honor for undergraduate math and science students.

“When I learned that I won, I was overwhelmed with all of the excitement and congratulations from my UTSA professors, mentors and friends,” said Dibrell. “I am extremely grateful for their incredible support and so excited to have won a scholarship to help me take advantage of my enthusiasm for chemistry.”

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, named in honor of Senator Barry Goldwater, awards scholarships in the amount of $7,500. These competitive scholarships are offered each year to 240 junior and senior undergraduates pursuing mathematics and science degrees across the U.S.

“Having awardees two years in a row puts UTSA on the map in a new and significant way, signaling that our students do not just compete, but win, among the very best of the best in the nation,” said Kristi Meyer, director of the UTSA Top Scholar program. “For the Top Scholar program, this is solid confirmation that the investment the university made to recruit and retain these very high achieving students is paying off.”

Dibrell conducts top-tier research in UTSA medicinal chemist Doug Frantz’s organic chemistry laboratory. The 21-year-old is working alongside UTSA graduate students to find a breakthrough in the treatment of chronic pain.

“Sara is just one of those students who is driven by her own personal desire to succeed in every aspect both in the classroom and in the laboratory,” Frantz said. “She is always seeking out new opportunities to enhance her tenure at UTSA and takes full advantage of them.”

Dibrell is on track to graduate with her B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in Business Administration in May 2018. Then she plans to pursue a Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellowship in chemical biology to become a medicinal chemist, focusing on small molecule drug discovery.

“Through my research, I hope to help meet the industry need to improve the availability of medicine to patients around the globe and ultimately to end unnecessary pain in people worldwide.”

Read the full story on UTSA Today.