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Buckeye engineer receives honor, takes one step closer to successful career

The most prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, math and engineering has been awarded to a Buckeye engineer. Griffin Spychalski, a junior honors student majoring in biomedical engineering, has been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

Griffin SpychalskiGriffin Spychalski

“Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship is a tremendous honor and will hopefully be a start to a successful research-based career,” said Spychalski.

Scholarships are awarded to sophomores and juniors around the country o[[{"attributes":{},"fields":{}}]]n the basis of academic merit. This year, 204 scholarships and 307 Honorable Mentions were awarded to the 1,286 students who were nominated.

Goldwater Scholars receive an award of up to $7,500 to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and housing. Spychalski joins 55 other Buckeyes who have received the Goldwater Scholarship since its creation in 1986.

Spychalski gained recognition for this honor as a result of research he conducts with Jonathan Song, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Their work studies the effect of fluid forces on angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones.

“His research intersects both basic biomedical science and applied engineering, and he already exhibits both the technical skills and intellectual curiosity that allow him to formulate questions and then find new experimental approaches to address them,” said Song. “This attribute is very rare for an undergraduate, let alone a top-notch graduate student.”

Participating in research during his undergraduate career opened Spychalski’s eyes to new possibilities for his future career.

“Becoming involved in research presented the opportunity to explore new knowledge beyond the classroom and enrich my undergraduate education,” Spychalski said. “Through my experience in undergraduate research at Ohio State, I have been exposed to the broad spectrum of careers in biomedical engineering research, which has shaped my post grad plans.”

Last fall, he presented his work at the annual meeting for the Biomedical Engineering society. Spychalski said sharing his research with fellow scientists and engineers has been the most rewarding part of his work.

“This was an excellent forum to discuss my work with fellow biomedical engineers and gain feedback from experts in the field,” said Spychalski. “I look forward to returning to the conference this fall.”

An Eminence Fellow, Spychalski has been previously been recognized by other organizations for his academic achievements. He is the recipient of a 2016 American Heart Association Summer Research Fellowship, Undergraduate Research Office Summer Fellowship and the Engineering Dean’s Scholarship.

Involvement on campus is important to Spychalski, who volunteers at the James Comprehensive Cancer Center and is an officer in Tau Beta Pi, a national engineering honor society at Ohio State.

Additionally, Spychalski co-founded the service organization PassGo, an employment empowerment initiative that strives to connect local underemployed populations with meaningful employment.

After graduation, he plans to continue his education in biomedical engineering by entering a graduate program and pursue a career as an academic oncologist. He wants to work on developing microscale engineering technology to advance current methods of cancer diagnosis, prognosis and multi-target therapy selection.

“Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship represents a significant milestone on the path towards my intended career,” said Spychalski.

by Emily Lehmkuhl, College of Engineering student communications assistant