Jacob Parres-Gold, 2019 Goldwater Scholar

picture of jacob
2019 Goldwater Scholar,
Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Jacob Parres-Gold
Major: Biochemistry
College and Graduation Year:
Natural and Social Sciences,
Honors College, & Early Entrance Program
Class of 2021

What are your future career goals?

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school and earn my Ph. D. in Biochemistry. I hope to pursue a career in Biochemistry research by conducting post-doctoral work and, eventually, becoming a university faculty member. I tentatively lean towards university research rather than industry research because I very much enjoy teaching and helping students with chemistry. Overall, in my research, I hope to investigate fundamental processes that define Biochemistry as a field, while still identifying practical applications of the research (in disease, for instance).

What motivated you to apply and what were some of the challenges?

I was motivated to apply because the description of the scholarship seemed to fit my career goals very well. Over the past few years as an Early Entrance Program student and Biochem major, I have become more and more certain that I wanted to pursue a career in research. Knowing that the Goldwater Scholarship was intended to offer financial assistance for those pursuing careers in research, I thought it was appropriate to at least try.

How has this scholarship affected your career goals and ambitions?

I have become more motivated to pursue a career in research not only by receiving the scholarship, but also by simply applying. Putting together a strong application required me to think about what exactly I like about science and research, while also assessing what I have done so far to pursue those interests. Having these topics listed out on paper certainly reinvigorated my passions for science and research.

What is a cause you’re passionate about? Is this cause related to your career goals?

There are many causes I’m passionate about, and some of them certainly coincide with my career goals. One of my goals as a scientist is to significantly expand the range of people with access to science and its knowledge. For instance, I want to ensure that students coming from communities with inadequate science education may learn the same science, with the same success and interest, as any other student. Through teaching, I also hope to encourage students from diverse backgrounds with interests in science to consider careers in research.

     What advice would you give to future applicants of this scholarship or any scholarship?

For applying to Goldwater in the future, I would recommend that students think very hard about why they are considering research as a career. Make a list of all the things you like about science or research. Then, weave these items into your statements to show the reviewers why you are perfect for a career in research and what you’ve already done to pursue these goals. I would also recommend meeting with your faculty research advisor several times when writing your mini-research paper, as they can offer great advice on how to make it professional but understandable to anyone without a background in science. Dr. Yixian Wang is my faculty mentor, among other faculty in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department; they wrote very supportive letters of recommendation on my behalf.

For any other scholarship, I would recommend the exact same process: make a list of all the reasons you consider yourself perfect for the scholarship. Then weave those reasons into the story that is your application essay.

      What would people be surprised to know about you?  

One thing people might be surprised to know about me is that, in my free time, I practice a sport called parkour. Parkour is very similar to gymnastics, meaning I can do backflips and other cool tricks. The main difference from gymnastics is that there are looser rules and more personal creativity involved in coming up with new skills.

Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Foundation for Research Excellence
The benefits include a scholarship for academic expenses (tuition, books, etc.) up to $7,500/year for the remainder of the student’s undergraduate career. The Goldwater Scholarship Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States, seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

For more information on The Barry Goldwater Scholarship: https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/ contact Jessica (Cal State LA representative for Goldwater & NISFeP Coordinator) at [email protected]