Schmidt sees the award as “a representation of my cumulative work, between all of the experience I had doing research at Hampshire, and then being able to go off campus,” she says. “It’s a representation of all of that research throughout the United States.”
Schmidt is currently finishing up her Division III (senior) project on magnetotactic bacteria. She spent the fall semester doing research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was nominated for the award by UNLV professor Kurt Regner.
“She is a highly motivated individual with quality of research equal to that of a first- or second-year graduate student,” he said in an ASM announcement of the awards. “Schmidt was one of ten students selected from more than 100 applicants, and is clearly in the top 5 percent of all the former participants.”
Schmidt’s Hampshire professors concur. “Marian has maturity, patience, and persistence at an advanced level,” said Professor Jason Tor. “Her enthusiasm and honesty are great qualities that will support her research. I am certain that she has a great future ahead of her as a research microbiologist.”
Schmidt credits her Hampshire education for giving her an edge over her peers: “Hampshire provided me the room to have independent study and to gain independent research, which set me ahead of the other undergraduate students.”
Kevin Alby, a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University, received the graduate award.