Georgia Tech Student Receives Prestigious Hertz Foundation Fellowship

Biomedical engineering student among 15 in the U.S. to receive $250,000 fellowship

Andrea Barrett, a biomedical engineering student from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been awarded a Hertz Fellowship. She is one of four women and 11 men selected from an elite pool of nearly 600 applicants and is the only student from the southeastern United States to receive the fellowship this year.

Valued at more than $250,000, Hertz Fellowships are a unique no-strings-attached award that allow exceptional applied scientists and engineers the freedom to innovate.  The awards provide support lasting up to five years of their graduate studies. Considered the nation’s most generous Ph.D. fellowships, the Hertz Fellowship are provided by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations.

Scheduled to graduate in May 2010, Barrett is a recipient of the President’s Scholarship, the highest merit award given at Georgia Tech. In 2008, she received the Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national award for undergraduates pursuing graduate education in science or engineering.

“Winning the Hertz Fellowship is an amazing honor that I am so thrilled to receive,” said Barrett.  “The Hertz Fellows are some of the most distinguished and accomplished scientists in the country, and I look forward to learning all I can from them. Earning this fellowship is a remarkable way to culminate my undergraduate career in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech, and I know it will change my life tremendously with all it has to offer for my graduate career.”

Barrett’s undergraduate research experiences have spanned multiple disciplines and international boundaries, resulting in two conference publications and contributions to several other manuscripts. She has worked in labs at Georgia Tech, Harvard Medical School, Osaka University in Japan, and the National Cancer Institute, leading the way on projects studying chromosome structure using genomic sequencing techniques, manipulating optical laser set-ups to improve biological microscopic imaging, developing data combination strategies for microarray data and graphical user interfaces for mass spectrometry imaging data, and measuring the effects of a potential skin cancer drug in mouse primary keratinocytes.

Building on her undergraduate coursework and research experience in various facets of biomedical engineering, Barrett plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and computational biology and eventually a career in academia as a research professor at a top research institution. Beyond the research laboratory, Barrett plays the violin in the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra and has performed with a pre-professional ballet company.

Barrett’s leadership and mentoring experience includes serving as a team leader for a freshman seminar course, helping found the President's Scholar Mentoring Program, serving campus organization leaders as the vice chair of the Presidents' Council Governing Board and serving as an active participant in the leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. The daughter of Richard and Linda, Barrett is a graduate of Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia.

Hertz Foundation Fellowship Winner Andrea Barrett
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Andrea Barrett, 2010 Hertz Foundation Fellowship Winner

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.