Longtime Observatory advocate Ellie White has won a prestigious scholarship to support her education at Marshall University. A physics major, she plans to earn her Ph.D. in astrophysics studying astrobiology, radio astronomy instrumentation, and SETI.
Ellie has conducted research at Green Bank Observatory, and presented at multiple national and regional conferences. She says, “I am so grateful for the tremendous opportunities I’ve had to learn and do research at the Green Bank Observatory. I started out working with my first research mentor Dr. Richard Prestage as a volunteer intern when I was sixteen, and since then I’ve worked on projects ranging from real-time radio frequency interference mitigation to radio astronomy citizen science initiatives to cosmology instrumentation.”
The scholarship, a partnership between the Department of Defense National Defense Education Program and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, is one of the highest honors undergraduates in the fields of science, technology education and math, or STEM, can receive. White is only the second winner of the scholarship from Marshall, and the first recipient in 20 years. She was the only student from West Virginia selected in the competition.
“I am especially honored to have won the Goldwater Scholarship because the award is a reflection of the time, effort, and care that my mentors have put into helping me learn and grow. I can’t thank my friends and mentors at the observatory — Dr. Rich Bradley (of NRAO), Dr. Frank Ghigo, Mike Holstine, Dr. Karen O’Neil, and so many other wonderful people — enough for their support and for all they’ve taught me — they are truly the reason that I have such an exciting vision for my future and such a strong passion for research.”
Ellie aspires to one day to work as a staff scientist at an observatory.