Top National Scholarship Awarded to University of Idaho Student

Thursday, March 29 2012

MOSCOW, Idaho – Rebecca Johnson, a junior at the University of Idaho, has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program. 

Johnson is the only recipient from an Idaho university to receive this award this year.

"Rebecca Johnson embodies the College of Natural Resources, with her passion for nature and commitment to making the world a better place," said Kurt Pregitzer, dean of the College of Natural Resources. "All of the U-Idaho family is proud of her accomplishments and we know she will continue to be a life-long leader in the conservation of natural resources."

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1987 to honor Sen. Goldwater and his dedication to the U.S.

The scholarship’s purpose is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students. Johnson is the ideal fit. 

“Her academic abilities and potential are exceptional; but what sets her apart from other students is her willingness to continually challenge herself through research and to want to “make a difference” in conservation biology,” said Johnson’s academic adviser in the University Honors Program, Alton Campbell.

Her laboratories go beyond the University of Idaho classroom. She has focused her studies in Costa Rica, the marine coral reefs of Panama, Virginia at the Mountain Lake Biological Station for Research Experience for Undergraduates and Ecuador on an Associated Student Body trip. She believes in hands-on research, and her work at the university level will benefit her long-term plans and shape her desire to pursue a career in conservation genetics.

As a National Merit Scholar from Ridgecrest, Calif., Johnson had an ACT score of 34 in English, 31 in math and an SAT score of 730 in both subjects. She entered the university with 28 advanced placement credits from high school. Johnson had her pick of educational institutions, and she chose the University of Idaho. Last year, she was named a Udall Scholar – one of only 80 students nationwide to receive the honor and accompanying scholarship.

Johnson’s majors are ecology and conservation biology, and wildlife resources. Her career goal is a doctorate in ecology, and she is looking to conduct research in conservation genetics and teach at the university level.

Johnson is available for phone interviews.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to than 70 additional research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: