Student researcher named MSU’s newest Goldwater Scholar

Jackson Coole (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Two Mississippi State seniors are among those receiving prestigious recognition by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Senior biological engineering/biomedical engineering major Jackson B. Coole of Picayune is the land-grant university’s third student in the past six years to receive the highly coveted Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Senior microbiology and chemistry double-major Sabrina E. Moore of Starkville is MSU’s eighth student in the past six years to receive honorable mention selection from the premier national scholarship organization.

Both students are members of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at MSU.

Established in 1986, the Virginia-based Goldwater Foundation serves as a memorial to the former U.S. Republican senator from Arizona and 1964 presidential candidate. In annually recognizing undergraduate majors in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines, it helps ensure a continuing source of highly qualified professionals in these fields. For more, visit

Sabrina Moore (Photo by Megan Bean)

MSU Professor of English Tommy Anderson, who serves as director of the university’s Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, thanked Shackouls Honors College Dean Chris Snyder, as well as Coole and Moore’s respective faculty mentors for their support in “promoting our best undergraduate scholars.”

Coole’s faculty mentors include Professor Thomas Cathcart in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Assistant Professor James Stewart in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Moore’s faculty mentors include Assistant Professor Justin Thornton in the Department of Biological Sciences and Assistant Professor Nick Fitzkee in the Department of Chemistry.

“These faculty mentors across campus have provided amazing guidance to Jackson and Sabrina, who have presented their work in regional and national conferences and published their research in journals in their disciplines,” Anderson said.

“Their success shows that our undergraduates are preparing to be leaders in science-related research at the national level,” Anderson added.

Coole said participation in a Baylor University summer research program under Dr. Olivier Lichtarge sparked his interest in computational work, a passion he has further explored as part of his MSU experience.

“After the summer research program, I thought of doing a computational work project back at Mississippi State, and it was encouraging that Dr. Stewart was so receptive to me doing my own idea,” Coole said. “Dr. Cathcart also was very helpful on the computational end.”

Coole plans to pursue a doctorate and later teach in academia. He said MSU fosters a strong environment for research opportunities and undergraduate research contributions.

“I’ve been able to conduct self-led work as an undergraduate student at Mississippi State under two professors with different experiences. It has been exciting to learn new things together through research, and it’s taught me that I’m doing the right things to help my career,” Coole said.

Since its inception, the foundation has recognized a total of 24 Mississippi State students—16 with the Goldwater Scholarship and eight with honorable mention awards.

For more about MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, visit or follow on Twitter @ShackoulsHonors.

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