Stephen Allsop, biology junior and jazz studies minor at North Carolina Central University, has been awarded the 2009-2010 Barry Goldwater Scholarship for mathematical and scientific excellence.
The award is among the most prestigious in the U.S. given to undergraduates in the sciences.
This year, 278 scholarships were awarded nationally to undergraduate sophomores and juniors in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering and computer disciplines.
"The prestige of the scholarship means I am put in a caliber of students that when I apply for M.D. and Ph.D. programs, it will put me ahead of my competition," said Allsop, who is also an NCCCU Chancellor’s Scholar.
Recipients of the Goldwater Scholarship were selected from a field of 1,097 national applicants.
"I am delighted Stephen won the scholarship because no one at North Carolina Central ever had the opportunity to win," said Antonio Baines, an NCCU assistant professor of biology.
The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year. Allsop was chosen out of 1,100 other students in the field of mathematics, science and engineering.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship was instituted in 1986 by the U.S. Congress in honor of former five-term Senator Barry M. Goldwater.
Goldwater represented Arizona for 30 years from 1953-1965 and from 1969-1987.
He was defeated as the Republican nominee for president in 1964 by Democrat Lyndon Johnson and died in 1998.
Since 1986 the foundation has awarded 5,801 scholarships worth approximately $56 million dollars.
Allsop, who is a Maryland resident and a native of the Caribbean Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the oldest of three children. His father is a naturopathic doctor and his mother is a high school special education teacher.
He said he has always had a passion for science and remembers watching the National Geographic Channel before he was old enough to attend elementary school.
"The more I learned, the more I became engaged," he said.
After graduating, Allsop plans to do cancer research and surgical oncology.
He said he wants to develop ways to “treat cancer in a tumor- specific, minimally toxic manner.”
Allsop wants to advise his peers to challenge themselves.
"We have to raise our expectation of ourselves," he said.
"Often, I hear many people say, 'I just want to pass,’' and that bothers me because it demonstrates an expectancy of mediocrity that perpetuates the way other institutions view us as an HBCU."