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WSU junior Keesha Matz is the second W.F. West grad to land a national Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater Scholarships are among the nation’s most prestigious. This year, the winning WSU students were among 1,286 sophomores and juniors nominated by 470 institutions. Selections were based on academic merit, research experience, and progress toward a research career. 240 students with majors in natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering were selected to receive Goldwater Scholarships.

Among the recipients, the selection committee has announced that Washington State University junior and Chehalis native Keesha Matz has received a $7,500 award for her senior academic year in Pullman.

Great beginnings with the support of Chehalis

Beverly Makhani, Director of Communications and Marketing at WSU Office of Undergraduate Education adds; “I have known Keesha through the WSU Honors College, her undergraduate research, and her awards since her first year at WSU. She’s actually the second remarkably successful student I’ve met from W.F. West’s science program. The first was another Chehalis native, Seth Schneider—who also received a Goldwater Scholarship for 2015-16. Both Seth and Keesha mentioned immediately that they were W.F. West students of WSU alumnus Henri Weeks. … and it’s clear that the impact of the Foundation’s gift on Chehalis students’ scientific futures has been tremendous.

Keesha credits the Chehalis Foundation, which supports W.F. West High School’s STEM program as one of its many community projects, with helping her discover and begin to cultivate her passion. It was at W.F. West that she conducted an independent molecular genetics research project and studied DNA methylation patterns under award-winning teacher and WSU alumnus Henry Weeks. She presented her work at three regional conferences in her junior and senior year of high school.

Keesha plans a future career as a leader in the study of viruses and infectious diseases at an international biomedical research institution, such as the World Health Organization. She wants to develop treatments and drugs with world-wide impact. It was in her hometown of Chehalis that she caught the bug to pursue biomedical research.

Seth Schneider, 2015 Goldwater Scholarship recipient

In 2015, Seth M. Schneider a 2013 W.F. West grad was also awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. Both were students of Henry Weeks at W.F. West and were encouraged to attend Washington State because of its research reputation and “Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies” (STARS) program, which is a fast-track to professional life in the biosciences. They both are also in the WSU Honors College.

Seth Schneider’s future profession will be in national defense, doing research at a government laboratory to develop methods to analyze biological threats. He is a genetics and cell biology major who plans to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biosciences at WSU. He also credits his interest in research to his senior year advanced molecular genetics research class at W.F. West High School. This was the year that the Chehalis Foundation began its funding of the STEM program and educational excellence in the Chehalis Schools.

In 2015 Keesha wins an Award of Excellence at Annual Biomedical Research Conference

In 2015 Keesha wins an Award of Excellence at Annual Biomedical Research Conference Chehalis FoundationKeesha Matz’s new award is her second Goldwater in a row. She also applied when she was a sophomore and received an honorable mention for 2016-17. You may remember us writing about her in November 2015. Keesha was among a select group of dedicated college science students that were invited to participate in the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students held at the Seattle Convention Center. There, she gave a presentation on microbiology research to a panel of judges.

We are very proud of their amazing accomplishments. We are also proud of what our Chehalis schools can do when provided with the tools and funding they need to give our kids the edge they deserve for remarkable futures. This kind of news strengthens our resolve as a community foundation to continue the fundraising leadership for supporting Chehalis.

Your generous contributions to the Chehalis Foundation are what make all this possible. You can make an immediate impact on our community by donating now with a tax-deductible donation to the Chehalis Foundation.

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