-- Amanda Winters has always had an inquisitive mind. As a child,
the Petal native was constantly hungry for knowledge, devouring
Nancy Drew mystery novels and whizzing through crossword puzzles.
It's no surprise
then that the 21-year-old chemistry/biochemistry major at The University
of Southern Mississippi puts learning before grades. As a result,
Winters earned the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society's Silver Bowl Award
this spring, given to the student with the highest grade-point average
over the greatest number of semester hours in his or her chapter.
She was one of 60 winners nationwide.
carries a perfect 4.0 and has already been accepted to medical school
at Tulane, said she did not set out four years ago to finish with
the highest GPA. It just "sort of happened that way."
a secondary goal. My primary goal was to learn as much as I could
and try to come out of school being a competent chemist. The 4.0
was just a byproduct of that," Winters said.
school, where Winters will start in August, she will work toward
a joint MD-Ph.D., which takes seven years to complete. Halfway through
medical school, Winters said, she will take "a leave of absence
to do graduate work." This will allow her to teach medicine
one day, but Winters said she's most interested in doing medical
always liked solving problems, such as trying to find out why macroscopic
things happen on a microscopic level. I just like trying to figure
out how things work in the world," she said.
out of Petal High School who entered Southern Miss on a Presidential
scholarship, Winters has also won the Goldwater Award and a $5,000
graduate scholarship through the Southern Miss Phi Kappa Phi chapter.
Dr. Ken Panton,
dean of the Southern Miss Honors College, said any university in
this country would "be proud to have Amanda on its campus because
of this, the latest in a series of well-deserved awards."
won that recognition by hard work, and in the process, she has made
a big contribution to the Honors College and to Southern Miss,"
Dr. David Wertz,
who acts as Winters' research tutor, said: "Amanda is the best
undergraduate student I have come in contact with in 37.5 years
of teaching -- both in the classroom and in the research lab. She
does work equivalent to a very good Ph. D. student. She will continue
to be a credit to this university and to her hometown."