Traumatic brain injury spurs Ball State Goldwater Scholar to pursue medical research

Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Scholarships

May 5, 2014

Luke Schmid
Luke Schmid is a 2014 Goldwater Scholar

In high school, Ball State University junior Luke Schmid suffered a traumatic brain injury on the lacrosse field, a life-changing incident that stirred in him a passion for medical research and helping alleviate others' pain.

Now he's received a Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national award that supports sophomores and juniors intending to pursue careers in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering.

Schmid, an Honors College student from Carmel, Ind., is studying pre-medicine and cellular/molecular biology. His career ambitions include entering an MD/PhD program in biomedical engineering, with a goal of conducting research on biomedical nanotechnology for underdeveloped nations.

He credits his research fellowship with Ball State biology professor Jim Olesen as a pivotal opportunity that expanded his research interests as an undergraduate. “I have friends performing research at many other well-known institutions, but none of them have had the same privileges I've had here, offered by the Honors College through my Undergraduate Research Fellowship.”

Olesen describes Schmid as one of the most impressive students he's had the privilege of teaching at Ball State. "The majority of students I have do not even begin to inquire about completing research until the beginning of their senior year, but Luke was working in the lab with me as a sophomore," he explained. "He is one of a select few who I believe has the capacity and drive to succeed in scholarly endeavors."

Schmid received a $7,500 award from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 students nominated by college and university faculties. Of the 283 2014 Goldwater Scholars, nine recipients were from Indiana colleges and universities.


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