Isabella (“Bella”) Karabinas received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. She is one of four 2019 Goldwater Scholars from Oregon State this year. The junior Honors student, whose favorite classes in high school were biochemistry and psychology, is double majoring in both psychology and biochemistry and molecular biology and minoring in chemistry with a pre-medicine option. This interdisciplinary approach to her studies has given Karabinas the tools “to think critically about complex issues in biomedicine and society.”
Two other OSU science students received a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s top undergraduate award for sophomores and juniors in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics award, Ryan Tollefsen and Kendra Jackson.
Karabinas, a Mexican-American, is originally from southern California. When she was young, her family moved to the small town of Oroville, Washington, just four miles from the Canadian border, where she spent the first few years of her life. Her family now lives in Central Point, Oregon, where Karabinas finished middle school and attended high school at Crater Renaissance Academy. The high school was recognized as one of Oregon’s four model schools for college readiness in 2016, and one of the top high schools in the country by 2017 U.S. News & World Report. Karabinas’ interest in science was ignited by an AP Biology course, which she took online since her high school did not offer it.
“I had great teachers in high school, in physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology. They helped me see the connection between the sciences and the arts,” said Karabinas.
Truly a renaissance woman, Karabinas was drawn to science as well as the arts. She was extremely involved in the humanities and the arts throughout high school.
“The relationships with my Spanish and theatre teachers really inspired me about what I wanted to study and where I wanted to go. I am actually surprised that I chose a major in the hard sciences. I was very artsy in high school,” said Karabinas. The aspiring neuroscientist is an accomplished musician. She has played the piano for 10 years and played the alto saxophone in the jazz, marching, and concert bands in high school.
“The relationships with my Spanish and theatre teachers really inspired me about what I wanted to study and where I wanted to go. I am actually surprised that I chose a major in the hard sciences.”
Thanks to academic scholarships, Karabinas chose to pursue her studies here over other universities, which were “farther from home and more expensive.”
She is supported by numerous scholarships, including the Zonta Club of Corvallis STEM Scholarship, the Southern Oregon Latino Scholarship and the national Hispanic Scholarship Fund award. Most notably, she received the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Scholar award, which is awarded to interns for outstanding achievements in the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Gateways to the Laboratory Program. She is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society OSU Chapter.