April 12, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
When Alabama makes its way to the West Coast for next week's NCAA Gymnastics Championships, each gymnast will have packed their leotards, grips, warm-ups, clothes - everything they'll need for the week. Junior Ria Domier recently learned that she will have to make a little extra room in her suitcase for the trip back to her home state for these championships.
That's because in addition to everything she needs to compete, the Davis, Calif., native will also be carrying a Goldwater Scholarship in her bag.
"We are extremely proud of what Ria has accomplished during her career both as a scholar and an athlete and this award is the latest testament to her hard work, drive and dedication," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said.
The two-time Scholastic All-American and member of the Crimson Tide's 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship teams was recently announced as one of two University of Alabama students honored by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation with scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year.
"For the College of Engineering to have two winners this year speaks volumes to the quality of the students in our college, the outstanding commitment of our faculty to education and the wonderful facilities we have on campus," said Dr. Charles L. Karr, dean of engineering.
The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
"Over the years, whenever we've had a recruit interested in engineering, we've taken them to meet Dr. Karr," Patterson said. "Usually, I'll tell him that we really want the recruit to come to Alabama and to do his best. After Ria's visit, he called me and said how much the College of Engineering wanted her here at Alabama and for us to do OUR best. I had to laugh, but we're both so glad Ria is here with us."
The Goldwater Foundation Scholarship Program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, and it is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
"Ria has been a star in the classroom from the moment she set foot on this campus," Karr said. "She has also been quite active in the research lab. As impressed as I have been with Ria Domier the student, I am more impressed with Ria Domier the person. She is humble, caring, and compassionate. She is exactly the sort of young person we work so hard to bring to The University of Alabama. It is so nice to see quality people like Ria recognized on the national stage."
The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books along with room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Fellow chemical engineering major Josh Moon was the other UA student to earn the scholarship this year while chemical engineering student Michael Bolus and David Gillespie, a double major in electrical engineering and physics, earned honorable mention honors. Domier and Moon join six other students from the UA College of Engineering honored as Goldwater Scholars since 2005.
Domier is studying chemical and biological engineering and has researched multi-phase microfluidics working on projects with applications to the petroleum and fine chemical industries. Working with Dr. Ryan Hartman, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, Domier designed microreactor systems to study the formation of gas hydrates, or a frozen suspension of water and gas that can form costly clogs in gas pipelines, and broke apart asphaltene molecules found in crude oil. She also worked with Dr. Kevin Shaughnessy, chair of the chemistry department, to design and build a microfluidic system to quicken a specific chemical process.
A recent inductee into XXXI, the University's elite women's honorary, she plans to become a chemical engineering professor researching regenerative medicine. A part of the University Scholar's program, Domier is slated to graduate in 2014 with a bachelor's and master's degree before pursuing a doctorate.
A member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honors society, she has also been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. She is the recipient of a UA Presidential and National Merit scholarships along with a College of Engineering Scholarship. Domier is also a two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.