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April 30, 2024

Berry Student Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

A Berry College rising senior is one of 438 students nationwide who were recently named a 2024 Goldwater Scholar.

Hannah Blanton, of Norcross, was selected from a pool of over 5,000 students and the 1,353 nominated by their academic institutions. The Goldwater Scholarship, named after Senator Barry Goldwater, is the preeminent award for undergraduate students in science, mathematics and engineering. Each Goldwater Scholar annually receives financial aid for tuition, books, housing and other financial needs up to a $7,500 maximum.

Blanton is an honors student majoring in biology with the cellular and biomedical concentration and minoring in chemistry and One Health. In her time at Berry, she has presented research at two microbiology conferences and written two grants. She has worked with her research mentor, Associate Professor of Biology DeLacy Rhodes, since her freshman year as a research assistant, lab assistant and teaching assistant.

“Mentoring Hannah has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience,” Rhodes said. “She is the ideal research student: She is intelligent, hardworking, and shows a great deal of scientific curiosity. It has been amazing watching Hannah learn and grow as a scientist!”

Currently, Blanton is researching the bacterium called streptococcus equi subspecies equi that causes the strangles disease in horses. Specifically, she is studying how biofilms play a role in the ability of bacteria to set up and maintain an infection.

After she graduates, she plans to obtain her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and lead research at a federal agency.

“Antibiotic resistance is an urgent concern in the healthcare field that I plan to research in my future career,” Blanton says. “At the completion of my Ph.D., I hope to lead a diverse research team that will make significant contributions to the development of alternative treatment options against antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.”

As a Berry student, Blanton excels not only in the laboratory and classroom but also in extracurriculars. She helped co-found the Asian American-Pacific Islander Student Group, serving as its president her sophomore year, and currently serves in leadership for the student-led campus ministry, Common Worship. She was part of the Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society and receives Berry’s LifeWorks Scholarship.

Blanton is the fourth Berry student to earn the Goldwater Scholarship since 2019. For more information about Berry’s biology major, please visit


Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Elizabeth Chandler

Office of Public Relations

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