Christian Lantz ’21 Named Goldwater Scholar

Christian Lantz at commencement

For the second consecutive year The Barry Goldwater Scholarship in Education Foundation has selected a Lebanon Valley College student as a Goldwater Scholar. It is the third consecutive year that an LVC student has received at least honorable mention. Christian Lantz ’21, a biochemistry & molecular biology major from Atglen, Pa., joins 2019-20 Goldwater Scholar Brandon Roy ’20 and 2018–19 honorable mention Robert Tesoriero Jr. ’19 on this distinguished list.

The national Goldwater Scholar award recognizes undergraduate researchers for truly exceptional work. Nominees must be full-time college sophomores or juniors intending to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics, or engineering. Goldwater Scholars receive up to $7,500 a year to help cover costs associated with their remaining undergraduate studies.

Lantz, a junior who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genetic research before embarking on a career conducting research as a professor or in industry or a medical facility, has conducted undergraduate research with four LVC professors: Dr. Robert Carey, associate professor of biology and director of biochemistry & molecular biology (Fall 2018) and Dr. Eric Ryndock, former professor (Spring 2019). In fall 2019, Lantz worked with LVC immunologist Dr. Courtney Lappas and fellow biochem major Zach Balodis ’20 on “Exploring the Effect of Vitamin D on T-Cell Functionality.” That same semester, he worked with LVC biochemist Dr. Walter Patton, on the “Development of Novel Papain and Pectinase Assays.” Dr. Patton also serves as Lantz’s advisor.

In summer 2019, Lantz received a prestigious research opportunity to work in the Perilla Laboratory of Dr. Juan Perilla at the University of Delaware. The team researched “Unveiling the Fragility of HIV-1Using Neural Network and Electron Microscopy,” with Lantz working on the beginning stages of coding a neural network for HIV-1 particle recognition. As part of the process, he used electron micrographs of individual particles and became proficient in using the Python computer coding language.

“Applying for something like a Goldwater is not for the faint of heart, but Christian is determined and has a great work ethic,” said Dr. Patton. “His varied research at LVC and the University of Delaware, combined with the thoughtful and coherent narrative in his application, helped Christian succeed in this rather exclusive national process. These characteristics also helped him earn the Amgen Summer Scholarship and will enable him to be a successful researcher in the future.”

Lantz is active outside his labs as a member of the LVC Chemistry and Biology clubs. He is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Beta Beta Beta and Delta Alpha Pi honor societies. He serves as a peer tutor for several biology and chemistry courses and works in the offices of accessibility resources and student affairs. Lantz also was selected to participate in the prestigious Stanford University Amgen Summer Research Program as a genetics scholar for summer 2020.

Dr. Philip Benesch, LVC faculty director of external scholarships and fellowships, and several LVC science faculty worked with Lantz throughout the application process. Dr. Benesch and many of the team members also mentored Roy and Tesoriero Jr.

“The commitment of LVC faculty to serve above and beyond as mentors, fellow researchers, and dedicated educators enables our students to achieve distinction, whether as Fulbright or Goldwater scholars, or attend nationally recognized graduate programs in law, medicine, and science,” said Dr. Benesch.


About the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs in these critical fields. Over its 30-year history, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship that support our Scholars’ graduate schoolwork. Today, Goldwater alumni can be found conducting research that is helping defend the Nation, finding cures for catastrophic diseases and teaching future generations of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

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