Virginia Tech student Arianna Krinos, a triple major in biological sciences and computational modeling and data analytics in the College of Science and computer science in the College of Engineering, has been selected as a 2018 Goldwater Scholar.

A junior from Tampa, Florida, Krinos joins 210 scholars for the 2018-2019 academic year to win the prestigious honor from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Lance De Koninck, of Arlington, Virginia, and a sophomore majoring in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, also in the College of Engineering, was recognized as an honorable mention for the award.

“This particular scholarship has been a dream of mine for quite some time because it represents promise, specifically as a graduate student and researcher,” Krinos said. “It puts me in a rank of scholars who have had similar experiences to mine. My mentor, Dr. Lisa Belden, was also a Goldwater Scholar as an undergraduate, and as one of my role models, I am excited to join her and so many other great scientists as a member of this prestigious group.”

Krinos’ academic goals practically define what it means to be a Virginia Tech student dedicated to inclusive, collaborative science and a commitment to service. Her research focuses on the use of computer models and quantitative tools, such as bioinformatics and data analytics, to describe and predict changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Krinos became involved in the research during her sophomore year under Cayelan Carey, an assistant professor in biological sciences.

For Belden, also a professor in biological sciences, Krinos using bioinformatics as a computational tool to connect the likely role fungal pathogens have played in the decline of global amphibian populations. Krinos is also part of the Virginia Tech Honors College, and closer to her parents’ home, has participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of North Florida.

The Goldwater Scholarship is not the first major honor for Krinos. In October 2017, she won a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), becoming the first and only student at Virginia Tech to ever receive the award.

“She is part of a new generation of truly interdisciplinary scholars and thinkers who are going to do great things to advance environmental sustainability in this rapidly changing world,” said Belden of the ASF Scholarship.

Krinos will spend the summer interning with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a Hollings Scholar at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.

“I will be working on a marine resource modeling project using statistically downscaled data from global climate models to study an ecologically and economically important marine species,” she said.

Cognizant of her own research mentors, Krinos helps lead mentoring efforts in local middle schools to get youth excited about research in STEM-related fields. She also serves as a mentor and ambassador with programs in the Department of Computer Science, among other efforts at Virginia Tech and near her home in Florida.

“I always encourage younger undergraduates to participate in research,” Krinos added.

After graduation, Krinos plans on pursuing a doctorate in limnology or oceanography with an emphasis on biology and computers. “I am drawn to the integrated aquatic sciences because of how easily many different fields of science are applied to aquatic ecosystems,” Krinos said.

Upon acquiring her degrees, Krinos intends to pursue a career in research that will make an impact on environmental management and biological understanding and also will allow her to apply computational and analytical skills to ecology.

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