Tulsa Community College Student Named Goldwater Scholar

April 3, 2020

Justice Robinson, a Tulsa Community College student, has been named a 2020 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Robinson, a Biology major, is the first TCC student to receive this prestigious scholarship that is up to $15K split between two years of study.

“I am still really shocked and proud to represent Tulsa Community College. I am a non-traditional student who had a six-year gap from high school to college, so I am older than most of my peers,” said Robinson

At 26, she will graduate in May with her associate degree and plans to continue her education in Neuroscience. Her ultimate plan is to earn a Ph.D. and conduct research in neurobiology, to understand changes in the brain.

“It was my own experiences and challenges in making the transition from high school to adulthood that sparked my interest in understanding what happens to your brain. Despite my family situation being a bit of a mess, I am focused on my goal and school has kept me grounded giving me control of my own future. It is a motivator for me instead of a deterrent,” said Robinson.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship for the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in America and is awarded to sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming our nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

“From the first day in my Introductory to Biology course and her first semester in college, Justice knew she wanted to study neuroscience. Even then, she was so specific and so articulate. She has faced many challenges and, while others might have been held back, she is not. She is propelled forward by it and her success is inspiring to others,” said Melissa Masse, TCC Associate Professor of Biology.

Robinson credits TCC faculty Melissa Masse, Neil Enis, Diana Spencer with her success. She believes the mentorship she received at TCC along with the ability to work in the Biotechnology program doing undergraduate research and presenting her research has helped her academic success.

“I am super grateful for TCC and the encouragement and acceptance from Honors faculty and mentors. They made sure I knew it was okay to by myself and when I faced self-doubt, they were there to encourage me,” said Robinson.

Robinson is one of five Goldwater Scholars selected from Oklahoma and one of 396 selected from across the country.

The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. In partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation Goldwater Scholarship increased number of scholarships this year.

“As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the U.S. is developing this talent,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as he explained the partnership.

To date, the Goldwater Foundation, since 1989, has awarded 9,047 scholarships and more than $71M.