Two North­eastern stu­dents have been named 2010 Gold­water Scholars, an honor bestowed on the nation’s top under­grad­u­ates in math­e­matics, sci­ence, and engineering.

Third-​​year chem­istry major Krista Marie Wager and second-​​year bio­chem­istry major Arti Deepa Tewari received the pres­ti­gious schol­ar­ships, awarded annu­ally by the Barry M. Gold­water Schol­ar­ship and Excel­lence in Edu­ca­tion Foun­da­tion to help stu­dents advance their careers.

Of the thou­sands of stu­dents across the country nom­i­nated annu­ally for Gold­water schol­ar­ships, no more than 300 win. The schol­ar­ship covers tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to a max­imum of $7,500 per year.

Wager and Tewari, Northeastern’s fifth and sixth Gold­water recip­i­ents, are emblem­atic of the high cal­iber of under­grad­uate researchers attending North­eastern, said Mau­reen Kelleher, asso­ciate soci­ology pro­fessor and director of the Honor’s Program.

The expe­ri­ences that these stu­dents have, both on campus and through expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties,” Kelleher said, “put them ahead of the curve as they move on to pursue post-​​graduate degrees.”

While in high school, Wager devel­oped an interest in chem­istry, but it wasn’t until she set foot in a lab that she real­ized how fas­ci­nating research could be. Working with Graham Jones, pro­fessor and chair of chem­istry and chem­ical biology, Wager inves­ti­gates the labeling of mol­e­cules with radioac­tive ele­ments, which could lead to ear­lier detec­tion of dis­eases, such as prostate cancer.

Wager’s co-​​op at Mil­len­nium Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and her Merck Under­grad­uate Research Fel­low­ship, which afforded her the oppor­tu­nity to con­duct DNA research, has cemented her desire to pursue doc­toral degrees in organic chem­istry and medicine.

I feel like this award is an affir­ma­tion that I am doing the right thing by pur­suing a career in research,” she said, adding that she plans to focus on med­i­c­inal chem­istry and radiochemistry.

Tewari, who spent the summer after her senior year of high school in a lab at the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts Lowell, met David Budil, asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­istry and chem­ical biology and Tewari’s aca­d­emic advisor, on her first day at Northeastern.

I had always been inter­ested in sci­ence, so I wanted to expand my skills in a lab as soon as pos­sible,” she said.

Tewari’s research project focuses on the devel­op­ment of a non­toxic fuel cell. Such fuel cells, which pro­duce energy through a series of chem­ical reac­tions, can be used to power internal med­ical devices, such as pacemakers.

After grad­u­ating from North­eastern, Tewari will pursue a PhD and a med­ical degree, with a focus on oncology. She hopes to prac­tice med­i­cine and teach at a med­ical school.