Ann Marie Flusche has been named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar, one of only six in Oklahoma. The Goldwater Scholarship program is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. It seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming the country’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.
“This award is truly an amazing honor,” Flusche said. “It is a direct reflection of the mentorship and guidance I have received while at The University of Tulsa. To me, this award highlights the investment that TU puts in their students. As a freshman, it was very easy for me to get involved in research right away.”
“On behalf of the faculty of the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences, I sincerely congratulate Ann Marie on being chosen as a Goldwater Scholar,” said Dean James Sorem Jr. “Ann Marie may be still a junior, but I recognize in her such immense potential. Every one of her research mentors at the university and beyond campus has spoken enthusiastically of her contributions to their work, and I am confident she will build on her TU foundation to achieve her goal of becoming a cancer-biology scientist.”
Path to success
A junior majoring in biology, with minors in biomedical engineering, chemistry and neuroscience, Flusche has an extensive record of research and well-articulated research aspirations. Once she graduates from The University of Tulsa, Flusche plans to pursue an MD/PhD in cancer biology so that she can work as a physician-scientist: “My aim is to identify pathogenic and tumor biology factors that lead to brain tumor progression, discover biomarkers to diagnose brain tumors and develop new interventions that improve response rates and reduce symptoms.”
During her time at TU, Flusche has worked in Chapman Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Robert Sheaff’s lab working on cancer-related research Professor Emerita of Biological Science Estelle Levetin’s lab investigating airborne allergens. In 2019, she joined Associate Professor of Community Medicine Sahib Khalsa’s lab to study heart-brain connections. Flusche continues to work in each of these labs as a trusted lead on several independent projects and she has conducted brain tumor research within the MD Anderson Cancer Center neuro-oncology department.
“I am very pleased that Ann Marie’s hard work in both the lab and classroom has been recognized by the Goldwater Foundation,” remarked Sheaff. “This is a prestigious scholarship identifying students likely to have a significant societal impact in their future endeavors.”
In addition to undergraduate research, Flusche has been actively engaged with both the Early Careers in Community Medicine and the Honors program. For her independent Honors project, she is writing a children’s book to help young people better understand cancer and the cancer treatments they or their loved ones may be undergoing. Meanwhile, through her work with the Student Association’s Student Awareness Committee, TU Global Health Brigades and as a Stanford Innovation Fellow, Flusche has developed an extensive record of service helping to improve health and education both locally and abroad.
“The Goldwater scholarship process empowered me to trust my research instincts, gain confidence in my abilities and recognize the powerful influence of encouraging, supportive mentors,” Flusche remarked. She went on to note that “receiving this award has now set the foundation to continue those scientific pursuits. If I have any advice for current researchers, it is to challenge yourself to pursue new opportunities, even the ones that you think are out of your reach and seek plenty of feedback along the way.”
Are you interested in applying for a nationally competitive scholarship? If so, visit TU’s Office of Integrative and Experiential Learning today.