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U of I Student Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

April 03, 2024

MOSCOW, Idaho — A University of Idaho Honors Program student majoring in microbiology has been awarded the 2024 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

The Distinguished Scholarships Program announced that Dayna Buitron, a junior from Caldwell, received the honor. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is among the most prestigious awards in the United States for undergraduate research in the areas of mathematics, engineering and natural sciences.

Buitron was selected by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation from a national pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors. This year, only 438 students were awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. Buitron is one of only six scholars in Idaho to be selected this year and she’s the only one from U of I. The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 for the senior year in college.

Buitron came to U of I in Fall 2021 and is working with Paul Rowley, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, whose research focuses on understanding the complex interactions that occur between viruses and their hosts. 

Buitron hopes to obtain a doctorate in biochemistry and conduct research to understand the mechanism behind prion protein conformation with the goal of developing therapeutics for prion diseases, which are currently untreatable and fatal.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to identify, encourage and financially support outstanding undergraduates interested in pursuing research careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Media Contact:

Dilshani Sarathchandra
Goldwater Campus Representative
Faculty Fellow Distinguished Scholarships Program
University Honors Program

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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