Clemson University Honors College; College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; College of Science

Five Clemson students awarded prestigious 2024 Goldwater scholarships


In a first for Clemson University, five students were selected this year for the prestigious 2024 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes students who show exceptional promise of advancing research in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Biochemistry majors Caroline Argenti and Adam Gatch, physics major Maggie Marte, mathematical sciences major Cody Waters and bioengineering major Audrey Wessinger are among 438 scholars selected nationwide.

“We congratulate Caroline, Adam, Maggie, Cody and Audrey on the contributions each is making through research, service and leadership to transform lives in South Carolina and beyond,” said Clemson University’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert H. Jones. “The fact that five Clemson students were selected as Goldwater Scholars this year is a testament to our University’s commitment to undergraduate research ascension and faculty mentoring.”

More than 1,350 students were nominated by 446 institutions across the country for this year’s competition, which provides scholarship recipients with $7,500 in financial support towards their undergraduate studies and associated expenses for up to two years.

Clemson is one of only eight institutions to have five scholars selected this year. The announcement brings Clemson’s total number of Goldwater scholars selected since the program’s inception to 63.

The University leads the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with 47 scholars since 2006.

About Clemson’s 2024 Goldwater Scholars 

Caroline Argenti

Caroline Argenti, a junior biochemistry major and Honors student from Auburn, Alabama, is working to create new cutting-edge drug delivery treatments for cancer. Her mentors are Jessica Larsen, an endowed associate professor of chemical engineering and Akinori Kuzuya, a chemistry and materials engineering professor at Kansai University.

Argenti has spent her three years on campus working on a Cas9/polymersome research project, earning a competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer grant along the way. She also completed a Summer Undergraduate Research in Japan program experience at Kansai University. She has already presented her findings in half a dozen conference presentations, with three at the national level, and is currently working on an Honors thesis that explores the design of ROS-responsive coacervates for the encapsulation and delivery of radiosensitizing RNA to meningioma cells.

A strong advocate for women in science and STEM careers, Argenti has chaired several committees through Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional organization for women in STEM, and volunteered with a K-12 STEM competition initiative. She also served as a College of Science Student Advisory Board (SciSAB) member.

In the future, Argenti plans to earn a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences and to continue her research as a scientist.

Adam Gatch

Adam Gatch, a junior biochemistry major and Honors student from Charleston, South Carolina, started working on computational biophysics research during his first year on campus. His goal is to restore neurological function to those who were affected by either disease or injury by driving research towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurological disease.

Over the past three years, Gatch has contributed to five research projects at Clemson and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) — three of which were independently-led with mentor support. Last summer, he received a $10,000 grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to support his work. Gatch’s findings have been shared in two co-authored professional journal publications and five presentations, with two at international meetings. He also has a first author journal publication in progress. His mentors are Feng Ding, a professor of physics at Clemson University and Federico Rodriguez-Porcel, an assistant professor of neurology at MUSC.

Gatch is dedicated to service, working as a member of SciSAB and an academic tutor while averaging 15 hours every week as an EMT. He also participates in clinical shadowing and clinical research through a course called CURES (Clinical Undergraduate Research Experiences in Surgery). He hopes to continue his research as a medical scientist in the future and is one of just 50 students in this year’s Goldwater scholars cohort who intend to pursue an M.D./Ph.D.

Maggie Marte

Maggie Marte, a junior physics major and Honors student from Williamston, South Carolina, explores experimental condensed matter physics. She is one of only 47 physics majors nationwide to be recognized. Marte has contributed to four research projects on campus and already has a first-author credit for a professional scientific article in the Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science in 2023.

Marte has also co-authored a second journal article and had her research findings shared at 11 campus, regional and national academic meetings. She is a strong champion for women in STEM, serving as vice president of the Society of Physics Students and acting as lead organizer for a women in physics conference. Her leadership led to her appointment as an Ambassador for the College of Science. She has also received departmental and college recognition for her service and scholarship, including being the most outstanding science student in her academic year. Her mentors are Chad Sosolik, who chairs the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University, Kasra Sardashti, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and John Yi, a professor of chemistry from Winston-Salem State University.

In addition to her academic work, Marte is a Residential Community Mentor and a 2023 NAIGC national beam champion on the University’s club gymnastics team. In the future, Marte plans to earn a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics before pursuing a research career in quantum technology applications at an R1 university or national lab.

Cody Waters

Cody Waters, a junior mathematical sciences major from Loris, South Carolina, transferred to Clemson University to pursue pure math studies after one year at the College of Charleston. His research explores the compactedness of localized operators. Waters is one of only 27 Goldwater recipients majoring in mathematical sciences.

After just one semester at Clemson, Waters was recognized as his major’s most outstanding sophomore. He presented his research findings at a regional conference last month and is working to submit a research paper for publication in a high-impact academic journal before May. He has also already completed two graduate courses and enrolled in a third, with plans to complete two more before he finishes his undergraduate degree. He has supplemented that learning by exploring other complicated mathematical theories on his own in addition to his class work.  

His mentor Cody Stockdale, an assistant professor in mathematical and statistical sciences, has said that he believes Waters has the potential to have a career as a leading researcher in mathematics. Waters intends to do just that — after graduation, he plans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and pursue a research career in harmonic analysis at an R1 university.

Audrey Wessinger

Audrey Wessinger, a bioengineering junior and Honors student from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is working towards a career in genetic engineering research, with a focus on contributing to transformative advancements in antibiotics or cancer therapies. She is one of only 56 Goldwater recipients majoring in engineering.

Wessinger started her research in high school, contributing to five different projects with four faculty bioengineering faculty members: Angela Alexander-Bryant, Jeremy Gilbert, Jeremy Mercuri and Jiro Nagatomi. Her work has already been shared in four co-authored publications, including two papers where she was listed as the second author. She has also been part of five research presentations, including two at international meetings.

She also has a strong focus on service. Wessinger is a member of the Bioengineering Student Advisory Board and the University’s Student Funding Board while also being part of the marching band and working as an academic tutor and as a DJ on WSBF FM (Clemson’s student radio).   

In the future, Wessinger plans to earn a Ph.D. in bioengineering and pursue a research career focused on drug delivery and genetic engineering.

About the Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Goldwater, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Participating universities are typically able to nominate up to four students for the scholarship each year. Scholarship dollars can be used by recipients to pay for tuition, fees, books or room and board. 

Students interested in the Goldwater Scholarship or other nationally competitive programs should contact the Office of Major Fellowships at 864-656-9704 or

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