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Andrew Pendergast, a rising senior at Carolina, has been selected for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Pendergast, who is pursuing a major in chemistry, hopes to earn a doctorate in analytical chemistry and ultimately establish a fundamental interdisciplinary electrochemistry group to continue the study of nanoparticles, small atomic clusters and single atoms in the context of renewable energy conversion reactions.
Pendergast, from Waxhaw, is one of 496 students nationwide to win the award, selected from a pool of 1,223 candidates nominated by their universities. Pendergast is UNC’s 48th Goldwater Scholar. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 a year to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board.
Pendergast’s research is focused on fundamental and applied electrochemistry at the interface of nanoparticle fabrication, alloy electrocatalysis, and single atom and atomic cluster detection. Pendergast previously worked in the lab of professor Matthew Lockett, exploring 3D-paper-based tumor co-cultures and wetting dynamics of modified paper materials, and in the lab of research associate professor Matthew Champion at the University of Notre Dame last summer, producing several publications from these experiences. Pendergast is a Colonel Robinson Scholar and has been involved in UNC’s chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, since his first year. Pendergast received a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Fellowship for his work at Notre Dame.
Outside the classroom and lab, Pendergast works as a middle school science outreach organizer to develop educational lectures, demonstrations and programming for East Rutherford Middle School. He also translates his chemistry knowledge to the kitchen with an interest in scientific gastronomy.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. It is considered one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships in natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in America and is meant to prepare students for careers in research.