Junior Named Goldwater Scholar for Academics, Research on Ants, Orchids

Sebastian ScofieldSebastian Scofield, a junior biology major from Hillsboro, Ore., was recently named a 2013 Goldwater Scholar for his academic record, service to UD and undergraduate research accomplishments. Only four other UD students have received the honor in the last 20 years--Elizabeth Reisinger '93, Sean Walbran '94, Carol Gee '99 and Anna Marie DeLaRosa '12.

"Sebastian has tremendous intellect and field research skills, and I have seen him develop these further at UD with every experience," said Marcy Brown Marsden, chair and associate professor of biology. "From studying unknown species of ants in Costa Rica, to censusing orchids in Texas, to teaching himself computer-based mapping he has accomplished much in a short time, and it is great to see him recognized for it."

Scofield has completed two significant research projects at UD: one in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, and one in Irving. In Costa Rica, Scofield studied ant and butterfly species diversity to determine the progress of a reforestation project.

In Irving, he studied Hexalectris myco-heterotrophic orchids, investigating the relationship between orchid population and annual rainfall and between orchid locations and soil or geological characteristics. Both projects were completed under the guidance of Brown Marsden.

"I am especially grateful to my parents for encouraging me to follow my passion, even if that passion was ants," said Scofield, "and to Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, for being such a wonderful mentor and helping me to accomplish everything I have with my research."

As for Scofield's plans for the future, they include earning a doctorate in evolutionary ecology, and then teaching and conducting research at the university level. Scofield plans to focus his research on insects who display a high level of social organization, like ants, bees and wasps.

The national award, which was given this year to only 300 students nationwide, is named after U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater in honor of his years of service to the U.S. and his interest in science and technology. Each Goldwater Scholar receives a scholarship that covers tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

PHOTO: Scofield investigates a termite nest in Costa Rica.

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