Scholarships and Fellowships

Matthew Schaff (Neuroscience, Economics)
Goldwater Winner, 2012

University of Pittsburgh student Matthew A. B. Schaff, a junior majoring in neuroscience and economics, has been named a 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner for his exceptional research in the natural sciences. He is enrolled in the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and was nominated for the scholarships through the auspices of Pitt’s University Honors College.

Schaff, a Pitt Honors Scholar from Strafford, Pa., is an undergraduate researcher in Pitt’s Neuropsychopharmacology of Nicotine Addiction Laboratory. He studies the reinforcement-enhancing effects of nicotine on rats through operant conditioning techniques under the direction of Alan Sved, a professor and chair in Pitt’s Department of Neuroscience, and Eric Donny, an associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Psychology. Schaff also spent two summers conducting research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Neuropsychiatry Laboratory.

An intern/contractor at The Foundation for Biomedical Research in Washington, D.C., Schaff inaugurated the “Research Outreach Initiative,” which encourages scientists to perform K-12 outreach. He is a service volunteer in the Pitt Department of Biological Sciences and Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Mobile Science Lab Program. Schaff’s honors include the Center for Neuroscience Summer Undergraduate Fellowship and the University Honors College Fall Research Fellowship. He serves as president of the Pitt Neuroscience Club.

Schaff plans to earn a PhD in neuroscience and to conduct research on the causes of drug abuse, directing the focus of his future research toward understanding the way the brain processes and responds to rewarding stimuli, particularly commonly abused stimulants such as nicotine and cocaine. He hopes to teach at the university level.