Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

Tulane Junior Named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

April 20, 2021 9:30 AM
Ellie Casement



A Newcomb-Tulane College junior has earned national recognition for her impressive academic accomplishments and research activities. Ellie Casement, who is pursuing a dual degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology, was awarded a 2021 Goldwater Scholarship.

The Goldwater Scholarship, named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Casement was selected as a Goldwater Scholar out of a group of over 5,000 applicants. Only 410 students nationwide are Goldwater Scholars this year, making Casement’s achievement even more impressive.

“I was so excited when I saw my name on the list of scholars! It truly was the most amazing feeling to know that others saw potential in me as a future researcher and wanted to support my goals,” said Casement. “The Goldwater community has been very welcoming in the last few weeks, and I’m looking forward to connecting with other young scientists in STEM fields.”

As an undergraduate, Casement is researching the relationship between bird mating systems and fruiting plant distributions in Ecuador for her Honors Thesis in partnership with the Karubian Lab. She will spend the summer in the Ecuadorian rainforest mapping plant species and radio tracking white-bearded manakins. Casement is also a research assistant with Ferris Lab, where she studies the genetics of hybridization and adaptation in monkey flowers. “While the Ferris and Karubian Labs have different focuses, my work with both has been valuable in providing amazing mentors and experiences with various research topics in the field,” said Casement.

Casement believes that earning the Goldwater Scholarship is the first major step into the field of research, saying, “It has motivated me to continue setting high goals and exploring diverse opportunities for my future.” After graduating from Tulane, Casement plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with specific emphasis on researching reef fish mating systems and their implications for coral reef conservation. She hopes to one day work as a university professor and run a lab focused on coral reef ecosystem dynamics and conservation.