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Next generation science: James Brogan of Boston College

Chemistry-physics double major a Goldwater Scholarship recipient

Boston College

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IMAGE: Boston College junior James Brogan has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship as one of the nation's top undergraduate science scholars. view more

Credit: Lee Pellegrini, Boston College

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (May 7, 2015) - Boston College junior James Brogan, a double major in physics and chemistry focused on finding new ways to treat disease, has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which is considered the nation's premier undergraduate fellowship in the sciences.

Brogan, of Coral Springs, Fla., is one of 260 sophomores and juniors selected from among 1,206 nominees for the fellowships, which are awarded on the basis of academic merit to the country's most promising students in math, science and engineering.

"I am honored to have been recognized by the Goldwater Scholarship Program," said Brogan. "Winning the Goldwater scholarship is a testament to the quality of research and advising that is available at Boston College. My mentors have prepared me extremely well for my future goal of attending an MD-PhD program."

The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Many past Goldwater Scholars have gone on to earn prestigious post-graduate fellowships, including Rhodes, Marshall and Churchill scholarships.

Brogan was also recently awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to travel to Peru this summer to study Spanish and health care, in addition to developing his bilingual medical vocabulary.

Brogan, who plans to earn a doctorate in physics and a medical degree, conducts research in the lab of Professor of Chemistry Paul Davidovits, where he develops experiments to model the behavior of aerosols in the atmosphere and the potential effects on human health.

"I have spent the past two years working in the atmospheric chemistry laboratory of Professor Davidovits, where I have matured into a scientist," Brogan said. "Before attending Boston College, I never envisioned myself as a scientific researcher, but I read about Professor Davidovits' research and was so interested that I decided to try something new. The mentorship of Professor Davidovits and his postdoctoral associates, Andrew Lambe and Lindsay Renbaum-Wolff, sculpted me into the research scientist I am today."

In the Davidovits lab, Brogan has planned experiments, collaborated with scientists from universities across the globe, and worked through scientific problems to find solutions.

Brogan has co-authored a report in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, submitted another manuscript and presented his findings at two of BC's annual undergraduate research poster session. He was a student presenter at BC's Symposium in Global Public Health last December.

Brogan said he plans to earn a doctorate in physics and a medical degree with a goal of combining the two fields in an academic career devoted to advancing techniques and training in medical physics.

"Physics will provide me with a powerful set of problem-solving skills that are applicable to a wide variety of problems, while an MD will provide me with a profound understanding of the way the human body functions," Brogan wrote. "With an MD and a PhD in physics, I will be well-equipped with all of the skills necessary to achieve my research goals as a medical physicist."

In addition to Davidovits and his research team, Brogan credited his academic success to Research Associate Professor Andrzej Herczynski in Physics, and Professors David McFadden and Mary Roberts in Chemistry.

"I'm grateful for the support of my friends and family throughout my endeavors," said Brogan. "Otherwise, I would not be able to stay motivated to the level that I have been over my three years at Boston College."

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