COLLEGE PARK, Md.– Four University of Maryland undergraduates have been awarded scholarships by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to pursue advanced degrees and research careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics fields. In the past five years, UMD’s 20 nominations yielded 18 scholarships and two honorable mentions.
Paul Neves, Lillian Sun, Tanay Wakhare and Eric Wang are among the 211 Barry Goldwater Scholars selected from 1,280 students nominated nationally this year. Scholars will receive one- or two-year scholarships that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year.
Paul Neves—a junior physics major who is also a member of the University Honors program in the Honors College and a Banneker/Key Scholar—is interested in magnetic materials, and will use his award to pursue a Ph.D. Neves has conducted research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Center for Neutron Research and the UMD Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials.
“Paul has the instinct and raw talent to develop into a great scientist and already exhibits the motivation and maturity that are the foundation for success,” said his mentor Nicholas Butch, an adjunct assistant professor of physics at UMD and a physicist at the NIST Center for Neutron Research.
Lillian Sun—a junior pursuing double degrees in biological sciences and economics who is also a member of the Integrated Life Sciences program in the Honors College and a Banneker/Key Scholar—is interested in developing novel cancer vaccines, and has plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. Sun has previously interned at the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
“Lily possesses a remarkable ability to grasp complex biologic processes and critically think through experimental designs to answer hypothesis-based questions that guide a scientific story,” said her mentor Clint Allen, head of the NIDCD’s Translational Tumor Immunology Program and an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Tanay Wakhare—a sophomore pursuing double degrees in mathematicsand computer science who is also a member of the University Honors program in the Honors College and a Banneker/Key Scholar—is interested in combinatorics, a branch of mathematics that focuses on counting,and number theory, and will use his scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. Wakhare has interned at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.
“Tanay is an exceptionally talented young mathematician—by far the best student I have ever met in my career,” said Christophe Vignat, a professor of physics at the Universite Paris-Saclay and an invited professor of mathematics at Tulane University. “He has a very promising future in mathematics.”
Eric Wang—a junior bioengineering major who is a member of the University Honors program in the Honors College and a recipient of a 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellowship, a President’s Scholarship and an A. James Clark Scholarship—is interested in molecular dynamics, a computer simulation method for studying the physical movements of biomolecules, and will also pursue a Ph.D.
Wang has worked closely with several UMD professors and collaborated with researchers in the Membrane Biophysics Section of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
“I have been impressed with Eric’s computational ability to quickly learn our techniques and to know when to ask versus figuring it out on his own,” said Klauda. “He is currently at the level I might expect from a top mid-level graduate student, not an undergraduate that has only worked in my lab for a year.”
The Goldwater Scholarship program was created in 1986 to identify students of outstanding ability and promise in science, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage their pursuit of advanced study and research careers. The Goldwater Foundation has honored 62 University of Maryland winners and five honorable mentions since the program’s first award was given in 1989.
To learn more about the UMD’s Goldwater scholars, please visit https://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/4119.