Prestigious Fellowship for Science Research

UMKC student wins Whitaker in Zurich

Elliott Goff, a graduate student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Whitaker Fellowship from the Whitaker International Program to spend a year conducting research in Zurich at the Institute for Biomechanics at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH).

Goff is one of 50 recipients for this year’s fellowship for young biomedical engineers who are recognized as emerging leaders in their field. ETH Zurich is consistently ranked in the top 15 world’s best science universities, and he will be working under the direction of Professor Ralph Müller, head of the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich.

“I feel incredibly honored to be selected as a Whitaker Fellow,” Goff said. “The opportunity to be involved in a cutting-edge project such as this is truly the fruition of a childhood dream. I am deeply grateful for every professor I have had at UMKC and their immense influence on my character, intellect and career direction. I am particularly grateful for Dr. Amber Rath Stern and Dr. Gregory King involving me in their research projects and exposing me to the exciting world of biomedical engineering.”

Goff completed his undergraduate work in mechanical engineering at UMKC (’13 Magna Cum Laude) and is the grandson of UMKC Professor Emeritus Henry Droll of the Department of Chemistry.

“I was originally drawn to UMKC because of the small class sizes and the young faculty in the mechanical engineering department,” Goff said. “Yet what I really grew fond of was how easy it is to get involved with research and extracurricular activities. This involvement has added a unique depth to my core academics, especially in impact-driven groups like Engineers without Borders.”

Goff has distinguished himself throughout his time at UMKC, said Linna Place, UMKC Director of International Academic Programs.

“I have worked with Elliott for two years and he truly stands out as a very special person — gifted, accomplished and a delight to know,” Place said.

Goff spent the summer of 2012 at the Julius Wolff Institute in Berlin as the recipient of a DAAD research internship grant, and just a few weeks ago he learned that he had been awarded a second DAAD, the RISE Professional internship, which he has declined in favor of the Whitaker. This past year, he has been heavily involved in the research of King, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, involving the analysis of posture in symphony conductors. UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance students are also collaborating on the project.

Goff grew up in Kansas City and attended high school at Pembroke Hill. Goff plans to graduate with a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering in May 2016. He hopes to pursue a career in biomedical engineering using his mechanical engineering background.

“His research and activities have exposed him to the need for bioengineering solutions to important challenges related to human welfare and health,” said Kevin Truman, dean of UMKC School of Computing and Engineering. “I know his genuine concern and empathy for those who can benefit from those solutions motivate and inspire his work and career.”

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