Colorado College’s Allie Kreitman ’21 has been named a 2020-21 Goldwater Scholar. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is given annually to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.
Kreitman, of Chicago, is a molecular biology major minoring in mathematical biology. She is one of two Colorado College students and one of 396 college students from across the United States to be named a Goldwater Scholar this year.
“Being recognized as a Goldwater Scholar is extremely validating and encouraging for me to continue challenging myself through math, biology, and medicine,” she says. “After CC, I plan to pursue an MD/ Ph.D. in virology and epidemiology. I hope to find a way to interface public health and medicine with epidemiological research, using tools of molecular biology and mathematical modeling.”
Kreitman conducted research during Block 5 with CC Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology Olivia Hatton, an immunologist whose interests lie at the intersection of immunology, virology, and cancer biology.
That research focused on the way the Epstein Barr virus can cause cancer in people who are immunocompromised after organ transplantation. Kreitman hopes to spend the summer in Hatton’s research lab studying Epstein Barr-related B cell lymphomas; however, those plans are dependent on the COVID-19 situation in the coming months.
Kreitman wrote her Goldwater application on a research project she worked on at the University of Chicago during the summer of 2018. “I wrote a stochastic, in-host HIV diversity model to look at the ways that HIV mutates in a patient during the initial phases of infection,” she says. “We thought this was important because random events can have extremely large repercussions on infection success when the viral population is low. We analyzed the growth and lifespan of populations of genetic variants, as well as searched for parameter spaces where sometimes infections would quickly die out while other times they would grow exponentially.”
She is one of 1,343 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students who was nominated by 461 academic institutions to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships.
Of this year’s scholars, 50 are mathematics and computer science majors, 287 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 59 are engineer majors. The award covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.