Steinberg wins 2013 Sowden Prize


Lindsey Steinberg has been selected to receive the 2013 Sowden Prize, given each year by the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences.

The Sowden Prize is the highest honor the department bestows on a graduating senior chemistry major.

The prize is named in honor of the late John C. Sowden, a professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences. A carbohydrate chemist, Sowden collaborated with the nuclear chemists and radiochemists at Washington University in St. Louis to create radio-labeled carbohydrates that helped to reveal the mechanisms of carbohydrate reactions.

Sowden was a WUSTL faculty member for 16 years and chair of the chemistry department from 1956 to 1963, helping the university earn a reputation as one of the world’s leaders in research excellence.

The award memorial fund was established by his family, friends and colleagues after his death in 1963.

Richard A. Loomis, Steinberg’s adviser and an associate professor of chemistry, first met her in a physical sciences pre-freshman orientation program. “From day one, she was clearly driven to succeed in a career in science,” he said.

Loomis said that Steinberg, as a sophomore, took on a complicated set of experiments to optimize the properties of semiconductor quantum wires. He said she made great strides in less than a year and that her research findings will be part of at least three academic publications.

Steinberg, a Merit Scholar, who is minoring in physics and has a 3.99 GPA, plans to pursue an academic career to “contribute both to innovative research and the education of others.”

Among her extracurricular activities, Steinberg has worked as a Peer-Led Team Learning leader for general chemistry students since her sophomore year. This semester, she will receive an Outstanding Peer Leader award.

She also has been a teaching assistant for organic chemistry and for physical chemistry, and a volunteer with Catalysts for Change, a program to introduce female high school students to opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Last year, she won a $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, a foundation established in 1984 by surviving members of America’s original Mercury Seven astronauts to provide scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to STEM undergraduate college students based solely on merit.

After graduation, Steinberg plans to attend the Washington University Medical Scientist Training Program in pursuit of an MD/PhD.