Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in these fields. The awards are made on the basis of merit to two groups of students: those who will be college juniors and those who will be college seniors in the following academic year and all have outstanding potential and intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

Learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship and UW’s nomination process.

Search the Goldwater directory for more scholars and honorable mentions.


2020 – 2021 UW Nominees:

Jerry Cao

Junior, Computer Science major

Jerry Cao is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Washington where he studies Computer Science; he is also in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors. As a member of the Make4All Lab advised by Jennifer Mankoff and the UbiComp Lab advised by Shwetak Patel, Jerry conducts research at the intersection of health, computing, and fabrication.

His current research focuses on creating an unobtrusive, wearable device to monitor and predict the onset of adverse symptoms caused by health conditions where the body is unable to properly regulate blood circulation, such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and orthostatic hypotension. Some of Jerry’s past work includes contributing to generating optimized 3D-printable tactile maps for the visually impaired, building a biosensor for cannabidiol using a chemically induced dimerization system, and developing a system to continuously record blood pressure using non-invasive optical sensors. After graduation, he plans to obtain a PhD in computer science.

Outside of classes and research, Jerry helps run Project IF, an indoor farming organization that teaches students about hydroponics and other sustainable farming techniques through hands-on experience. He also enjoys teaching students about fabrication as an officer in WOOF3D, which is a 3D-printing club at UW.

Jerry’s near-term and long-term goals: Jerry’s short-term goal is to get a Ph.D. in computer science. His long-term goal is to increase access to health sensing by making low-cost tools that are accessible to a wider range of demographics.


Daniel Chen

Sophomore, Informatics and Microbiology major

Daniel Chen is double majoring in both Informatics and Microbiology (where he is pursuing departmental honors). He currently conducts research under Dr. Yapeng Su and Professor Jim Heath in the Heath lab at the Institute for Systems biology. His research is focused on utilizing the single-cell multi-omic paradigm to analyze COVID-19 peripheral blood mononuclear cells to identify the disease state effects of SARS-CoV-2 on patient immune systems. Such research has also branched out into investigating heterogenous patient responses to COVID-19 in convalescence along with interrogation of patient epigenomes to identify the early-stage immune cell subpopulations responsible for humoral immunity formation and the epigenomic changes that may guide such. In combination with Chen’s previous research investigating melanoma subpopulations using single-cell transcriptome (scRNA-seq) and epigenome (scATAC-seq) data, his current research projects have continued to push and develop his passion for biomedical informatics particularly when applied to clinically relevant problems.

Chen has previously been awarded the Levinson Emerging Scholars award and the Mary Gates Research Scholarship (for both Winter and Autumn 2020), and is also listed on the Annual Dean’s List. Outside of class and research he enjoys hiking in nature preserves and crocheting amigurumi animals. After his undergraduate studies, Chen intends to pursue an MD-PhD centered on leveraging computational resources and advances to solve human medical challenges such as cancer and infectious diseases. He particularly looks forward to identifying best practices and applications for such research to develop more accessible medical solutions for the given problem.

Daniel’s near-term and long-term goals: I plan on initially earning an MD-PhD in either Bioinformatics or Bioengineering. Then I hope to pursue a faculty position at a university to conduct translational research in biomedical-informatic oriented fields.

Daniel’s tips for future applicants: Reach out to the OMSFA staff members because they do an amazing job in providing advice and resources on the application. Definitely take advice with a grain of salt and speak to what personally drives you which may require some time to just sit-down and really dig deep into what is the unique, personal reason your pursuing your current goals, what are they and what do they lead to (i.e. what are your future goals; why is what you’re doing now helping your career).


Christopher Kang

Junior, Computer Science, Math and Economics major

I’m Chris, a Computer Science and Mathematics double degree researching quantum algorithms for molecular simulations. I relish discovering and upholding truth, which is why I find algorithm design fascinating: computers can produce answers which are verifiably correct, making the unknown known.

However, current computers face limitations in solving specific types of problems, like simulating complex molecules. In fact, simulating proteins with modern algorithms would take thousands of years, making the problem intractable. My research asks: could a new class of computers enable a new class of discoveries? With better quantum computers, we could solve certain intractable problems, like molecular simulation. While simulating large proteins is not yet realizable, my hope is that quantum simulation algorithms will someday enable faster drug discovery, leading to more effective therapeutics.

I plan to obtain a PhD in Computer Science, where I will research near-term quantum algorithms for simulation while continuing my efforts to broaden participation in computing. In the long-run, I hope to pioneer new classes of quantum algorithms for simulation and scientific discovery. I also aim to support efforts to make the US economy quantum-ready by educating federal agencies and lawmakers on the impacts of quantum.

Christopher’s near-term and long-term goals: I plan to obtain a PhD in Computer Science, then achieve a tenured faculty position in quantum computing. I also aim to support efforts to make the US economy quantum-ready by educating federal agencies and lawmakers on the impacts of quantum.

Christopher’s tips for future applicants: Set reasonable expectations – awards often have many factors out of your control. Focus on introspection and learning to prepare strong applications over “award or bust” mindsets.


Cristian Swift

Sophomore, Oceanography major

I am a 1st year at the University of Washington pursuing Oceanography as a major with a minor in data sciences. Getting my start in research at 15 through the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) in Everett Washington, I have been enveloped in marine research taking on different angles from heavy metals to protein analysis. Outside of classes I am a part of the Undergraduate Research Program’s URL team, where I share the importance of starting research earlier in your university career. I also participate in the School of Oceanography’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee working to make the School of Oceanography more representative of our population.

My current research in the Rocap biological oceanography laboratory is focused on an ecotype of the Marine bacteria, Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthesizer on the planet. We are investigating the hybrid cluster protein which has special interest because in other organisms it has shown to be responsible for denitrification resulting in the release of greenhouse gasses, not observed before in Prochlorococcus. Over summer and fall I worked to identify the type of hybrid cluster protein this organism holds which tells us how this protein may function in Prochlorococcus. Continuing, I plan on creating a phylogenetic tree and develop metatranscriptomes to identify whether the Hybrid Cluster Proteins in Prochlorococcus and additional organisms are active, meaning they denitrify.

During my time at UW I want to experience all aspects of research to develop essential skills and continue fighting for increased equitability to access research opportunities in our undergraduate population. In the next couple of years I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in oceanography and data sciences to expose me further to the diverse field of marine research with a long term goal of working in ecology and aiding in conservation efforts.

Cristian’s near-term and long-term goals: My near term goals are to develop my data sciences skills to prepare me for my summer internship which will be computationally heavy, and learn to develop additional wet lab, and computational biology skills. In the long term I want to earn a Ph.D. in oceanography with a focus on data sciences to investigate the relationships with organisms and the ocean along with working in conservation.


Carter Vu

Junior, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering major

Carter Vu is a junior studying Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at the University of Washington (UW) with Interdisciplinary and Departmental Honors, and plans to pursue a minor in Entrepreneurship. Carter entered the UW through the Early Entrance Program at the Robinson Center for Young Scholars, and has since become an Annual Dean’s List awardee, a NASA Space Grant Scholar, an Astronaut Scholar, and president of the student branch of the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium.

Currently, Carter is a member of the ATLAS collaboration at CERN, designing and running statistical analysis frameworks and Monte-Carlo simulations in the search for the generic heavy Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, while simultaneously contributing to development of hypervelocity ram acceleration technologies at the UW through computational fluid dynamics modeling. His past research experience includes construction of a prototype reactor for environmentally friendly H2 production through methane pyrolysis, as well as independent study of topics in topology, knot theory, and manifold theory. Key long-term goals for Carter include continuing his study of space launch systems through pursuit of a PhD, joining and leading industry research teams developing the next generation of space launch and space flight, and founding a highly interdisciplinary, research-oriented company with a team of uniquely passionate engineers.

Outside of the hard sciences, Carter enjoys downhill skiing, running, cycling, and studying sustainability, international human rights, and foreign policy. He has contributed to the 2019 review of the Franklin & Marshall College Global Barometer of Gay Rights discussion on Libya, and continues to engage with human rights and sustainability at the international level.

Carter’s near-term and long-term goals: In the near term, Carter aims to graduate in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering with Interdisciplinary Honors, Departmental Honors, and a minor in Entrepreneurship. He also plans to intern at a major space launch company. In the long term, after having gained experience in the space industry, he intends to found a company focused on developing the next generation of space launch technologies.

Carter’s tips for future applicants: Use your network! It can never hurt to have another set of eyes review your application materials, just to make sure that every word and every line makes the case for your success.


History of UW's Undergraduate Nominees, Honorable Mentions, and Scholars since 1999

2019 - 2020

2019 – 2020 UW Nominees:

Megan Bui

Junior, Electrical Engineering major

My purpose is to build fuel-efficient technologies and integrate renewable energy into the world’s power grids. As a child, I dreamt of the future; as an electrical engineer, I will create it. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in machine learning because I believe the future of energy-efficient devices will be the Internet of Things and Smart Devices where technologies are interconnected and self-regulating.

Megan’s tips for future applicants:
Start early to allow for various feedback and multiple revisions.


Jakub Filipek

Junior, Computer Science major

I came to the United States during my junior year of high school and was amazed by a number of opportunities outside of school given to students. When I came to the University of Washington this feeling only amplified, and that is when I decided to look into the research as a way of enhancing my experience at the college.

Because I liked it so much I decided that I should pursue Ph.D., as it would both expose me to more ideas, and give me the necessary experience to be successful in research. I am still unsure what field specifically I want to specialize in, and that’s why I have been exploring many opportunities during the last few years. Goldwater Scholarship fits it perfectly in the encouragement of pursuing Ph.D., while not being limited to a single area of study.

Time after finishing Ph.D. is too distant for me to know what I would like to do, but as of now, I believe that research-oriented work in either academia or industry is a feasible goal that would make me happy, and allow me to apply my skills in a meaningful way.

On a more personal note, I would love to stay in the United States and pursue education, and then career. Since I am a Green Card holder, citizenship is definitely something I would want to get in incoming years. Goldwater encourages that, and it gives me a validation of a place here, which is something I was struggling with at the beginning of my time in the United States.


Keyan Gootkin

Junior, Astronomy and Physics majors

My name is Keyan Gootkin, I’m a 3rd year astronomy student studying the universe’s most massive stars in their final days. I have been in the UW Massive Stars Research Group since I came to UW, and am about to publish my first paper as part of the group. Outside of classes and research I am heavily involved in science/astronomy outreach as the student coordinator for the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory (the creepy old building by the W), the outreach coordinator for the League of Astronomers, and a volunteer for the campus and mobile Planetariums.

Keyan’s tips for future applicants:
The biggest barrier to getting a scholarship is believing in yourself enough to apply 🙂


Parker Ruth

Junior, Computer Engineering; Bioengineering majors

Parker Ruth

Parker Ruth is a senior obtaining a double degree in Computer Engineering and Bioengineering; he is part of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors. His research explores the design of computational tools to improve access to healthcare. As a member of the Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) research lab advised by Professor Shwetak Patel, Parker has contributed to the development and testing of mobile health applications for sleep apnea screening, cardiovascular health, osteoporosis detection, and physical activity quantification. In addition to his research in smartphone health, he is currently designing tools for continuous, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. Before joining the UbiComp lab, Parker contributed to global health research by building image processing software for HIV drug resistance tests. Outside the classroom Parker started a club to help students get involved with research in bioengineering-related fields. After obtaining his undergraduate degrees, Parker plans to obtain a PhD in computer science, with a long-term goal of pursuing a career as a researcher using computers to improve people’s lives. Parker is grateful for the outstanding mentorship he has received from his current and past advisors. Parker is especially thankful for his family’s continual encouragement and support.

Parker’s tips for future applicants:
Start your application early, give plenty of time for your research mentor(s) to provide feedback, and talk with the OMFSA staff — they are very helpful!


Karen Zhang

Junior, Biochemistry, Microbiology majors

Karen Zhang is a junior studying Biochemistry and Microbiology. She is part of the Interdisciplinary Honors program and is working to complete Departmental Honors in Biochemistry. After graduating from UW, she aims to obtain a PhD in either Synthetic Biology or Bioinformatics. She is deeply passionate about studying the machineries of life at a molecular level and engineering them to perform novel tasks. She was first introduced to this concept of “hacking” biological systems in high school when she participated in iGEM, an international synthetic biology competition. Since then, she has been fascinated by the numerous issues that synthetic biology could help solve in a wide range of fields, including medical, environmental, and industrial.

Currently, Karen is an undergraduate researcher in the Molecular Information Systems Lab (MISL) at UW. Her lab investigates technologies for storing digital data in DNA and is interested in all things at the intersection between computer science and biology. Her projects so far have focused on using nanopore sensing technology to read out information from engineered biological systems. Through this interdisciplinary lab, she has gained invaluable experience in professional research and delved deeper into synthetic biology. She has also developed an appreciation for bioinformatics and the essential role that computational algorithms play in interpreting biological data.

Outside of academics and research, Karen is an editor for the UW Microbiology Journal where she guides writers in developing informative and fascinating articles about topics in microbiology. In her free time, Karen enjoys reading (and maybe one day writing) fantasy novels.

Karen’s tips for future applicants:
Let your passion shine through, especially in the personal statement portion of the application. Think about what motivates you and what makes you excited about your research, and use that to explain the actions you took and the things you achieved. For the research essay, make sure you have others look over it, including people who know the project and people who don’t.


2018 - 2019

Jordan Brown, Nominee

Junior, Mathematics major

Jordan Brown

I am an early entrance student at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in mathematics. I hope to become a research mathematician. My current research is focused on recent developments in type theory and the foundations of mathematics. The expansion of the use of computers in formal mathematical proofs is of great interest to me, and I hope to ascertain the extent to which type theory can be used not only to create programs which can check the validity of proofs, but which can independently generate mathematical proofs.

I come from Seattle, Washington and I have been interested in mathematics since I was very young. For the past few years, I have volunteered with the eMode Learning Foundation, teaching mathematics in Mount Baker and Rainier Beach to elementary- and middle-school students. I enjoy sharing my love of mathematics with people from my community, many of whom receive a very poor mathematical education in school.

Although I spend most of my time doing mathematics, I also act and play the clarinet. I love libraries and have visited nearly every branch in the Seattle Public Library system. One of my favorite activities is reading mathematical papers in German, both because I enjoy the mathematics and because I enjoy reading German. While I am far from fluent in German, I am rather adept in reading mathematical writing in German. This is convenient, as much of the literature on the foundations of mathematics in the twentieth century was written in German. Many other academic subjects interest me, and I have spent significant amounts of time reading about ethics, epistemology, psychology, physics, history, and sociology. My favorite authors of fiction are Paul Auster and James Baldwin.


Chris Moore, Scholar

Junior, Physics; Astronomy majors

Chris Moore

Before enlisting out of Bellevue at eighteen years old, Chris Moore was driven to learning all he could about the world around him. Enlisting into the Navy SEALs seemed the best opportunity to learn a great deal in a short amount of time. He persevered through training, two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and as SEAL instructor in Kodiak, Alaska. In what little free time he had on deployments, he enjoyed reading “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” and never gave up his passion for learning. The last three of his nine years in the military were spent mentoring hundreds of SEAL candidates in mountaineering, climbing, and survival in Alaska which instilled a passion for education and fundamental understanding that drove him to finally pursue the new challenge of scientific research.

Chris is currently pursuing two majors at the University of Washington; a comprehensive track in physics and a data science track in astronomy. He began research in Professor Kai-Mei Fu’s Optical Spintronics and Sensing Lab at the end of his first quarter. Being the first to see phenomena and knowing that his research will progress multiple scientific fields is what continues to drive his current pursuit of research. His research into single atomic defects in diamond and spin hall like effects in antiferromagnets provides very unique and challenging problems. He is continuing to learn about all facets of physics and astronomy and hopes to become a multifaceted subject matter expert capable of finding optimal research paths and outreach opportunities in the physical sciences.

As the president of the Society of Physics Students at the University of Washington, Chris started semi-monthly graduate research presentations in order to show undergraduates the research opportunities available in the physics department. In his free time, Chris enjoys ski mountaineering with his five year old Siberian husky, Kodi.

Chris’ tips for future applicants:
Use the application process as an opportunity to reflect of why academia is important to what you want to accomplish. Get as early a start as you possibly can and ask for help from graduate students, post-doctorates, and PIs along the way so that whoever is writing letters of recommendation has plenty of time and context. In the end, when asked about motivations, they must all come from you alone and good motivations take time to refine.


Parker Ruth, Nominee

Junior, Computer Engineering; Bioengineering majors

Parker Ruth

Parker Ruth is a junior obtaining a double degree in Computer Engineering and Bioengineering; he is part of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors. His research explores the design of computational tools to improve access to healthcare. As a member of the Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) research lab advised by Professor Shwetak Patel, Parker has contributed to the development and testing of mobile health applications for sleep apnea screening and continuous blood pressure monitoring. His current work aims to use commodity smartphone hardware to perform screening for osteoporosis by detecting changes in the resonant properties of osteoporotic bone. Before joining the UbiComp lab, Parker contributed to global health research by building image processing software for HIV drug resistance tests. Outside the classroom Parker started a club to help students get involved with research in bioengineering-related fields. After obtaining his undergraduate degrees, Parker plans to obtain a PhD in computer science, with a long-term goal of pursuing a career as a researcher using computers to improve people’s lives. Parker is grateful for the outstanding mentorship he has received from his current and past advisors, and for the generosity of the Washington Research Foundation. Parker is especially thankful for his family’s continual encouragement and support.

Parker’s tips for future applicants:
Working closely with my recommenders helped me to ensure that they were aware of the scholarship’s focus. Starting early gave me plenty of time to request feedback on my essays from advisors and research mentors.


Irika Sinha, Scholar

Sophomore, Biochemistry major

I was born in Bellevue, Washington and graduated from Redmond High School in 2017. I’m a sophomore at the University of Washington and will graduate with a B.S. in Biochemistry. I plan to double major with Biology. I am also part of Interdisciplinary Honors at UW and hope to complete College Honors for Biochemistry. Currently, I work on perovskite solar cells in the Ginger Lab and am contributing to the efforts to alleviate the disastrous effects of climate change by focusing on clean energy.

In the past, I have completed research as part of InBios International, a research company focused on immunodiagnostic tests for infectious diseases, and the Kaeberlein Lab in UW Pathology Department. My past experiences in laboratory settings have taught me many lab skills and introduced me to new concepts and techniques.

My family has a history of dementia and Alzheimer’s. My grandmother can no longer survive independently and, as each second goes by, she is forgetting me. It is expected that my mother and I will follow the same path when we grow old. These facts sparked my interest in neuroscience and I have always wanted to be a researcher working on a cure. In the future, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and complete further research in neuroscience in academia or at a research institute.

Irika’s tips for future applicants:
Talk to your P.I. about your project and really understand the details of the methodology so you can write about it.


2017 - 2018

Nelson Liu, Scholar

Junior, Linguistics, Computer Science, and Statistics major

Nelson Liu

Nelson Liu is a third year undergraduate at the University of Washington, where he studies computer science, statistics, and linguistics. He works on research as a member of Noah’s ARK, and is fortunate to be advised by Noah Smith. Nelson’s research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning and natural language processing, especially with linguistically sophisticated models. Through his work with Professor Smith and various research internships, Nelson has been fortunate to explore problems in computational social science, question answering, and automatic machine translation. After completing his undergraduate degree, Nelson plans to pursue a Ph.D. in natural language processing and finally a career in research.

Nelson’s tips for future Goldwater Scholarship campus applicants:
Be persistent and have confidence in yourself – I nearly didn’t apply during my second year of eligibility after previously not being selected.


Andrew Luo, Honorable Mention

Junior, Computer Science and Bioengineering major

Andrew Luo

Andrew Luo is currently a third year undergraduate at the University of Washington, where he studies computer science and bioengineering. He works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Ubiquitous Computing Laboratory where he is advised by Shwetak Patel. Andrew’s interests lay at the intersection of computing, engineering, and health; he is especially interested in novel health sensing — taking ubiquitous signals such as audio input from the smartphone in your pocket, and applying signal processing and machine learning strategies for novel health tasks such as cough sensing. Through his work with Professor Patel and others, Andrew has been fortunate to explore and influence the ever changing relationship between people and their machines. In the future, Andrew hopes his work will allow cheaper and more frequent health testing that can improve outcomes in all healthcare settings. After completing his degree, Andrew plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science and then a career in research.

Besides his research, Andrew is also an active member in the Undergraduate Research Community at the University of Washington, where he gets more people involved in research as an Undergraduate Research Leader. He is also an officer of Denatured, a student run magazine which publishes articles of about advances in biology and health. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing grand strategy games and participating as a flautist in the University of Washington bands.

Andrew’s tips for future Goldwater Scholarship campus applicants:
The Goldwater is a scholarship you really have to aim for at least one, perhaps two years in advance. It requires you to conclude that research is the career you want to pursue and develop sufficient depth and interest. Remember in your process that professors and mentors can be your greatest advocate and they care primarily about genuine interest in your topic of study. Put in the time, develop relationships and your research and do your best 🙂


Kimberly Ruth, Scholar

Junior, Computer Engineering and Math major

Kimberly Ruth

Kimberly Ruth is a junior double majoring in Computer Engineering and Mathematics; she is also in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors. Her research interests lie within the broad area of computer security, aiming to make computer systems stronger by understanding their weaknesses. Since winter quarter of her freshman year, she has been an undergraduate researcher in the CSE Security and Privacy Lab, co-advised by Professors Franziska Roesner and Tadayoshi Kohno. Her current research focus is on the security and privacy implications of emerging augmented reality (AR) technologies. AR systems present novel challenges for security due to their tight integration with the physical world, and Kimberly enjoys developing system design principles by analyzing these new risks; her current work aims to explore and define access control for multi-user AR systems, considering the implications of one AR user’s virtual content affecting another. She has been excited to take on increasing levels of responsibility with her research work, progressing from building auxiliary system components to helping discuss strategic project planning to most recently becoming a primary driver of research directions and project progress. To supplement her research work and gain a broad perspective on security and privacy, she participates in graduate-level security seminars and coursework, and last spring informally audited a course in cryptography. Kimberly maintains a parallel interest in mathematics and has participated twice in the Putnam competition. Motivated by her very positive experience in research, Kimberly plans to pursue a research-based career in computer security, starting with a PhD after graduation. She hopes to leverage mindsets of both theory and practice to inform the design of future secure systems. Kimberly is grateful to her fantastic advisors for their guidance and encouragement.

Kimberly’s tips for future Goldwater Scholarship campus applicants:
Your application is a chance for you to highlight your understanding of a research thought process. Be crystal clear about the research question your work answers, your approach to answering it, and how any results you have so far can be interpreted in the context of the original question. Focus on the part of the work that you were responsible for, especially any ill-defined issues that you had the autonomy to explore and define, and show how your contributions reflect the skills and mindsets that full-time researchers use on a daily basis.


Tyler Valentine, Scholar

Junior, Earth & Space Science major

Tyler Valentine

I am 4th year student at UW pursuing a degree in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) with the intention of staying a 5th year to earn a dual degree in ESS and History and Philosophy of Science. I have engaged in a variety of research during my time at UW: from CubeSatellite development to space mining. My research has placed me in an ideal position to pursue a PhD in a field related to Space Science and Engineering where I will focus on developing the technology necessary to utilize the resources of near-Earth space. After my PhD, I will pursue a career in academia to continue my research and teach. Additionally, I hope to write a number of “popular science” books for consumption by the general public.

Tyler’s tips for future Goldwater Scholarship campus applicants:
Make sure to spend extra time crafting the research essay, and get as many folks to review your essay as possible: experts and non-experts alike.

2016 - 2017

Julia Bauman, Honorable Mention

Junior, Neurobiology major

Julia Bauman

Julia is a third-year student majoring in neurobiology at UW. She plans to pursue an MD and a PhD in neuroscience with the goal of doing neurodegenerative disease research and seeing patients who are affected by such diseases. She would ideally like to spend a majority of her time in the lab and hopes to eventually teach at the university level.

Julia has a passion for science and medicine, and has been involved in scientific research for the entirety of her undergraduate career. Her long-term project investigates the genetics, neuropathology and risk factors associated with potential subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease. She has also researched cellular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and neuroblastoma during summer internships at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and the University of Freiburg in Germany, respectively.

Aside from research, Julia is involved in many activities on campus. She is Vice President of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-medical honors society, where she enjoys organizing professional development programs for members and helping other pre-meds navigate their journey to medical school. As an outreach chair for the UW Neurobiology Club, she coordinates with scientists who come to speak at the club’s events. She is also an Undergraduate Research Leader with the university, helping to bring awareness to students about research opportunities.

Despite a busy schedule, Julia is always willing to make time for running and coffee. She also enjoys hiking, traveling, playing piano and reading in her spare time.


Camille Birch, Honorable Mention

Junior, Bioengineering major

Camille Birch

Camille is currently in her fourth year studying Bioengineering and Computer Science, and is in the Interdisciplinary Honors program. She left high school after 10th grade and matriculated at UW to pursue college-level science and mathematics. During her freshman year she became interested in neuroscience, and joined Dr. Fetz’s lab to work on a brain-computer interface project soon after. In her current research, Camille works to develop a unified, adaptable neurophysiology system based around the NeuroChip-3 in order to allow for neural engineering in the prefrontal cortex in dynamic research environments. She is also investigating the potential efficacy of the prefrontal cortex as a site for brain-computer interface control and studying cross-cortical connectivity as a function of behavioral state. After graduation, Camille plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. program, specifically in the field of neural engineering, and then work in translational neural engineering research for rehabilitation medicine.


Yotam Ofek, Nominee

Sophomore, Comprehensive Physics major

Yotam Ofek

Yotam Ofek is a second year student at the University of Washington majoring in physics and mathematics. While math and physics constitute the core of his studies, he pursues a multifaceted education, drawing from a diversity of fields such biology, engineering, and computer science.
Yotam has been working at the university’s biophysics lab since 11th grade. Now he is an independent researcher currently working on developing new fluorescence microscopy methods capable of measuring protein concentrations at the single-molecule scale. Such a tool would grant researchers of both biology and medicine a new way to probe the inner workings of cells and specifically the transfer of bacterial DNA.

A scientist in both heart and mind, Yotam wants nothing more than to delve into the unknown and to learn all that there is to find. After finishing his undergraduate education at the University of Washington, he intends to go to graduate school to continue his studies in order to eventually make a full time career of his research.


Tyler Valentine, Honorable Mention

Junior, Physics, Earth & Space Science, and Astronomy major

Tyler Valentine

Tyler has been passionate about science and technology from a young age. Given the economic realities of Tyler’s childhood and adolescence, he was unable to truly pursue his interests. His inner engineer wanted to build anything and almost everything from Tesla Coils to Roman Ballistas. Meanwhile, his inner scientist wanted a telescope to explore the stars and a chemistry set to try to manipulate the elements. Tyler’s inner scientist and engineer have always battle each other for his attention, making it exceedingly difficult to decide on a single major when applying to universities as a senior. A part of him wanted to pursue a degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering the other half wanted to pursue a hard science like molecular biology or astronomy. Eventually Tyler decided to pursue what he perceived to be the most general degree that he could find which would allow him to postpone making the decision about what to do for the rest of his life. He opted to pursue three overlapping majors as it would allow Tyler’s flexibility in applying to both science-based and engineering-based PhD programs.

Tyler’s life also took an interesting turn when he finally decided what research to pursue. As someone profoundly interested in science and engineering from a young age deciding what field of research to pursue was more difficult than deciding a major. Eventually he made the gut decision to ask Professor Robert Winglee for a position in his lab. Eventually this lead him to perform independent research projects on asteroid rendezvous trajectories and spacecraft instrumentation. Additionally, his work with Prof. Winglee granted him access to the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium (WSGC). With the WSGC he has been able to travel around the Pacific Northwest to help promote science and space exploration.

2015 - 2016

Camille Birch, Nominee

Sophomore, Bioengineering major

Camille Birch

Camille is currently in her third year studying Bioengineering and Computer Science, and is in the Interdisciplinary Honors program. She left high school after 10th grade and matriculated at UW to pursue college-level science and mathematics. During her freshman year she became interested in neuroscience, and joined Dr. Fetz’s lab to work on a brain-computer interface project soon after. In her current research, Camille works to develop a unified, adaptable neurophysiology system based around the NeuroChip-3 in order to allow for neural engineering in the prefrontal cortex in dynamic research environments. She is also investigating the potential efficacy of the prefrontal cortex as a site for brain-computer interface control and studying cross-cortical connectivity as a function of behavioral state. After graduation, Camille plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. program, specifically in the field of neural engineering, and then work in translational neural engineering research for rehabilitation medicine.


Amanda Qu, Nominee

Junior, Biochemistry major

Amanda Qu is a junior majoring in Biochemistry. Her lifelong interest in structural biology arose from a casual obsession with protein structure ribbon diagrams in high school. However, she did not realize this was what she wanted to research until she joined the Catterall lab in the summer after her freshman year at the University of Washington. Her research centers around structural studies of CavAb, a bacterial voltage-gated calcium channel, using X-ray crystallography. Her current project involves designing a mutation in one of the crystal packing sites of CavAb to create a zinc-binding site that will strengthen the protein crystals. Ideally, this will increase the resolution of structures of CavAb, allowing her and her lab some insight into how some commonly used calcium channel blockers interact with voltage-gated calcium channels.

Now, beyond ribbon diagrams, Amanda is fascinated by how structural studies can elucidate the mechanism of biological functions at a molecular level. After graduation, she intends to pursue a PhD in Structural Biology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, or a related field, performing structural biology research that pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge.

Amanda hopes to eventually conduct research at the university level as a career; alongside that, she would like to advocate for diversity and equal representation in science, and to explore better ways to communicate research to non-scientists. She would like to thank her mentors Professor William Catterall, Professor Ning Zheng and Teresa Swanson for support in her research project and her scientific career.


Austin Stromme, Scholar

Junior, Math (Comprehensive) and Computer Science major

Austin Stromme

Stromme is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2018. His long-term goals include earning a Ph.D. in pure mathematics and becoming a university professor. Already eager to teach, Stromme asked to share some advice with students applying for the Goldwater Scholarship. “Make sure you start building relationships with your professors early. Having three people who know you well enough to say great, detailed things about you is critical. Also seek out opportunities to present your research when you can – this will help corroborate your claim that you’re a nascent researcher.”

Read more about Austin


Connor Tsuchida, Nominee

Junior, Bioegineering major

With a high school math teacher and a university biology professor as parents, Connor Tsuchida has always known the importance of both education and educators. Seeing as educators develop the next generation of great minds, ideas, and innovation, his hope is to eventually teach and lead a research laboratory at the university level. Connor is currently in Dr. Ying Zheng’s lab where his research focuses on studying the underlying causes of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by studying the endothelial cell’s response to hemodynamic shear stress. Outside of research, he is involved in student leadership as the Undergraduate Representative to the Bioengineering Curriculum Committee and the Junior Cohort Representative in the UW Biomedical Engineering Society. In whatever spare time he has, he uses it to travel, go to Seattle Mariners games, and watch the Seahawks. After graduation Connor hopes to go directly to graduate school to pursue a PhD, or experience the biotechnology industry for some time before returning to graduate school.

2014 - 2015

2014-2015 Goldwater nominees

Left to right: Lael Wentland, Ian Andrews, Alice Bosma-Moody & Gina Hansen.

Ian Andrews, Scholar

Junior, Bioegineering major, Chemistry minor

Hailing from Juneau, Alaska, Ian Andrews was inspired to pursue research with a focus in global health after an inspirational global health class his freshman year. His work in Dr. Barry Lutz’s lab focuses on developing paper-based microfluidic diagnostic tests for HIV that are suitable for low-resource settings. Outside of research, Ian is deeply involved in student leadership in the Department of Bioengineering. As an undergraduate representative on the Bioengineering Curriculum Committee and as Junior Cohort Representative to the student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Ian enjoys learning about the organizational structure of the University of Washington and how that structure can be harnessed to improve the student experience of future generations of bioengineers. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering with the ultimate career goal of leading research in technology to lower the global cost of health care.


Alice Bosma-Moody, Scholar

Junior, Bioegineering and Neurobiology major

I grew up in Seattle, WA but moved to France with my family for part of high school and completed coursework abroad. I came into the University of Washington as a bioengineering major with the intention to study neuralengineering and neuroprosthetics. I added Neurobiology as my second major during my sophomore year, and participated in the computational neurobiology training program. My current research in the lab of Dr. Chet Moritz works to restore motor function after spinal cord injury through the use of brain-controlled microstimulation. I also have experiences in synthetic biology and computational modeling of e.coli populations through a summer internship in Vienna, Austria. My current goal is to pursue an MD/PhD in clinical neurology with a focus on neurorehabilitation and implantable devices. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing and running. My current goal before finishing my undergraduate degree is to start learning Arabic and spend time in the Middle East and North Africa after graduation.


Gina Hanson, Scholar

Junior, Bioegineering major, Applied Mathematics minor

Gina’s laboratory research involvement began in her high school years, where she conducted research into crayfish sensory perception at the University of Maryland and at her high school in Virginia. Her desire to pursue research with more depth and impact on human health led her across the country to Bioengineering at the University of Washington. She joined Dr. Daniel Ratner’s research group in the Department of Bioengineering during her freshman year, where she is currently involved in the development of real-time biosensing applications of silicon photonic microfluidic devices. When not in lab, Gina can be found peer tutoring at the Odegaard Writing and Research Center, exploring Seattle’s urban and alpine neighborhoods, and dabbling at the piano bench. After completing her undergraduate studies, Gina wishes to gain experience in the biotechnology industry prior to completion of a Ph.D. in Bioengineering. She plans to ultimately conduct transnational research in the development of improved diagnostic approaches.

Gina’s tips for applicants: For scholarships like the Goldwater, I found it helpful to meet with my recommenders a few times and just keep communicating – you are a team (of sorts), so I like to keep them involve both in my own personal progress in my studies/interests and specifically in the application process (deadline, details for letters of rec, etc)


Lael Wentland, Nominee

Junior, Bioegineering major, Global Health minor

Lael Wentland’s career goal is to improve diagnostics for application in a low resource setting in order to improve health care access around the globe. Be this in industry or academia, graduate school for a P.hD is the next step of her future plans. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering with a minor in Global Health. Her current research is in Dr. Wendy Thomas’S lab at University of Washington with a focus on adhesive proteins. She is working on engineering switchable recognitions proteins that have the potential to increase specificity and selectivity of diagnostics. This involves altering the protein FimH, found on the end of bacteria pili, to make a more controllable pathway to activate the proteins binding. In lieu of her strong global health interest, she is actively involved as the Vice President of Operations for Bioengineers without Borders. She also is part of STEM and Bioengineering outreach, bringing interactive science presentations to students of all ages. Outside of school, she is part of the Seattle Irish Dance Company and likes to explore all other types of dance.

2013 - 2014

2013-2014 Goldwater nominees

Evan Mann, Honorable Mention

Junior, Chemical Engineering and Philosophy major

Evan Mann is currently a member of Dr. Charles Campbell’s research group in the University of Washington chemistry department. The Campbell group focuses on energy related catalysis and physical chemistry of solid surface interactions. Currently, he is working with graduate student James Lownsburry studying the interaction of calcium on a phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) surface. The methods we are using to examine the surface interactions are calorimetry and various spectroscopic techniques. Calcium and PCBM is an interface common in organic photovoltaics; by studying the interaction of the two compounds, Evan and his group hope to better understand the interface in a way that could be used to better organic photovoltaics. His past project was Fundamental Aspects of Heterogeneous Catalysis. This project consisted of him doing a literature review of surface science, including topics in chemisorption and catalysis.


Sean Murphy, Nominee

Junior, Chemical Engineering major, Applied Mathematics minor

Sean Murphy is a junior majoring in bioengineering and minoring in applied mathematics. He has been working in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Laflamme since his freshman year studying the use of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to improve injured heart function. His work has focused on the quantification of Ribonucleotide reductase in tissue and he has recently begun studying the effects of rotigaptide on cell viability. He has been involved with the Bioengineers Without Borders at the University of Washington working on the spirometer and ultrasound diagnostic teams for the past two years with the goal of sending student-designed medical devices to developing countries.

He is the cofounder of STEM Mentors, which seeks to strengthen interest in STEM careers with the community through one-on-one mentoring of high school and middle school students. In addition, Sean has been involved with the Engineering Ambassadors, where he reached out to schools in the greater Seattle area to highlight opportunities and research in engineering.

After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering after graduate and conduct translational research. Outside of class and the lab, he is an avid runner and plays for the UW Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team.


Jeremy Tran, Scholar

Junior, Chemistry and Biochemistry major, Mathematics minor

My ultimate professional goal is to become a professor of chemistry at the university level, both in order to do research, as well as to show students and aspiring chemists how interesting chemistry can be. In order to attain this goal, my academic goals are to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and spend time as a postdoctorate fellow, in order to earn a position at a university and teach and do research. My current intention for my undergraduate years is to graduate with a double major in chemistry and biochemistry, with a minor in mathematics. These degrees will give me the scientific background and knowledge to be a competitive applicant for graduate school.

Outside of school, I enjoy learning more about my cultural background and history. Paper-folding and calligraphy are some of the more artistic things I do in my spare time. I spend a lot of time taking pictures to record and document my life, especially when exploring new places with friends and family. Learning new things is one of the things I am sincerely passionate about, and I often spend hours reading and learning new things from books and the Internet.


William Walker, Honorable Mention

Junior, Bioengineering major

My career goal is to obtain a PhD in bioengineering to teach the future generations of scientists and inspire creativity and innovation in protein engineering. I aim to lead a research lab focused on curing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease using protein
therapeutics. My project related to the Goldwater Scholarship is the development of a procedure to verify the efficacy of protein therapeutics that have been designed to target amyloid diseases which currently have no cure. This procedure should offer a more direct verification of therapeutic efficacy than currently used assays. If shown to be successful, this project and future work and collaboration could substantially increase the efficiency of the design process of amyloid protein therapeutics by eliminating poor designs earlier in the process and shortening the time for successful designs to enter clinical trials. Through my work as an undergraduate researcher, PhD student, and in my future career, my ultimate personal goal is to cure diseases that are currently beyond the scope of modern medicine through the use of protein engineering.

Along the way, I wish to bring protein engineering and computational protein design into the spotlight of research over the coming decades and that my work motivates future generations of bright-minded scientists.

2012 - 2013

Hunter Bennett, Honorable Mention

Junior, Bioegineering major, Chemistry minor

Hunter is a junior majoring in Bioengineering. Upon arriving at UW in Fall 2010, he was amazed at the work being done across campus to create novel systems for disease treatment and prevention and sought to get involved as a way to apply what he had learned in high school and to make a positive change in medicine. This interest in research led him to the lab of Dr. Kim Woodrow in the Department of Bioengineering where it grew into a passion. Hunter’s project focuses on creating a cell-based therapeutic system capable of stimulating a long-term mucosal immune response to HIV and lowering rates of HIV sexual transmission. His research receives funding from the Mary Gates Research Scholarship and the Art Levinson Emerging Scholars Program. After graduation, Hunter hopes to pursue a Ph.D in Bioengineering while doing research focused on innovative immunotherapies.

In his free time Hunter enjoys running and hiking in the Seattle area, playing basketball, reading, and cheering on the UW football and basketball teams.


Sarah Harvey, Honorable Mention

Physics major


Jose Pineda, Nominee

Neurobiology and Mathematics major


Nancy Thomas, Nominee

Junior, Physics and Astronomy major, Earth & Space Sciences and Mathematics minor

Nancy is majoring in Physics and Astronomy with minors in Earth and Space Sciences and Mathematics. She has been working with Joshua Bandfield in the Earth and Space Sciences Remote Sensing Lab since the summer before her freshman year. Her research focuses on applying factor analysis and target transformation techniques to spectral data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to identity aqueous mineralogy on Mars.

In addition, Nancy started research extrasolar planets through the Pre-Major in Astronomy Program. She works with Andrew Becker and Eric Agol in the Department of Astronomy searching for exoplanet candidates in the Kepler data set by applying the Quasi-periodic Automated Transit Search (QATS) algorithm. Nancy recently spent the summer in Boston participating the 2012 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Internship. She worked on a project with Joseph Hora looking for near-infrared variability among young stellar objects in Cygnus-X.

After graduation, Nancy plans to study planetary science as a graduate student and continue characterizing terrestrial planets through a career in research and teaching. Outside of school, Nancy enjoys singing in choirs, traveling, and rock climbing.

2011 - 2012

Michael Bocek, Scholar

Junior, Biochemistry major

Michael Bocek

Michael Bocek is a junior at the UW studying biochemistry. He is currently researching in Suzie Pun’s group in the Department of Bioengineering, designing and evaluating polymer-based vectors to deliver therapeutic genes to neurons. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D in Bioengineering, focusing on engineering biomaterials. Afterwards, he hopes to go on to a scientific research career, either in academia or industry.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys reading, playing chamber music as an oboist, cooking, baking, hiking, and skiing. He is currently trying, with little success, to pick up the piano.


Evan Boyle, Honorable Mention

Junior, Biochemistry and Microbiology major

Evan Boyle

My name is Evan Boyle. I am an undergraduate in the departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Washington. For the last year and a half, I have been working in the Gelb lab to help characterize cytosolic and secreted phospholipases, a class of enzymes implicated in asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. In my time in the lab, I have learned numerous biochemical techniques that have the power to manipulate recombinant DNA in ways I never would have thought possible when I first enrolled in the University of Washington. Behind the expression and purification of recombinant enzymes are decades of research that have broken down many complex biological processes to manageable steps.

It is my hope to exploit these fantastic tools to their fullest potential. The acceleration of technological advances has enabled approaches that were only a few years ago unthinkable. The vast amount of data stored in the human genome is now accessible via next-generation sequencers and high-powered computers. With these new tools, addressing new frontiers of disease is possible. Although treatments for numerous conditions have improved drastically, human illness is a growing problem for societies across the world. I hope to counter the burgeoning wave of chronic conditions by pinpointing promising therapeutic targets with the latest in genetic technology.

By pursuing a PhD in genetics, I aspire to make a real difference in medical outcomes for patients worldwide and to enhance the impact that biomedical research has on ordinary people’s lives.


Derek Nhan, Honorable Mention

Junior, Biochemistry and Neurobiology major

Derek Nhan

Derek Nhan is a junior majoring in Neurobiology and Biochemistry. He is currently performing research in Dr. Kyra Becker’s neurology lab focused on understanding the molecular and behavioral basis behind the systemic immune response to stroke. Currently, his project involves monitoring the consequences of post-stroke infection in an animal model and its impact on neurological outcome. His research has been funded by a Mary Gates Research Scholarship and the HHMI. After graduation, Derek plans to pursue a career in medical research and become involved in the development of targeted approaches for treatment of neurological disorders. Outside of lab, he serves as an undergraduate research leader and also volunteers with the SIMONS Variation in Individuals Project at the UW Autism Center, aimed at understanding the neurobehavioral aspects of autism spectrum. He is also involved in the student-run organization, Healthcare Alternative Spring Break. In his spare time, he enjoys playing a variety of intramural sports.


Raymond Zhang, Scholar

Senior, Computer Engineering and Biology (Cell, Molecular, Developmental) major

Raymond Zhang

I am a senior pursuing dual degrees in Computer Engineering and Biology. Since my sophomore year, I have been part of a computational biology research group led by Ram Samudrala, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology. Under his guidance, I am developing a program to predict the structure of how a protein and a nucleic acid strand interact. Research has been very engaging and fun; I have enjoyed thinking of different approach to solve problems. In addition, this summer, I was part of Dr. Myles Akabas’s lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as part of its Summer Undergraduate Research Program. There, I worked on a project to develop an assay to screen for drugs that would block a protein critical for the growth of the parasite responsible for malaria.

At the age of 12, I entered the Early Entrance Program here at the UW. (The Early Entrance Program is designed to take students finishing eighth grade and, after preparing them for study at the collegiate level through a one-year preparatory program, enter them as freshmen into the University of Washington.) I wanted to enter UW early because I felt that my education in my previous schools was not challenging enough; the Early Entrance Program provided the perfect opportunity for me to accelerate my learning. I wanted to come to UW because of its excellent departments of CSE and Biology; discovering that the UW had active computational biology research groups was a pleasant surprise.

After I graduate from the University of Washington, I plan on becoming a physician scientist with an M.D. and a Ph.D. I hope to lead a research lab that tries to apply computer methods and technology to discover novel solutions for complex medical and biology problems.

2010 - 2011

2011 Goldwater Nominees

Mark Bun, Scholar

Senior, Mathematics and Computer Science major

Mark Bun is a senior majoring in mathematics and computer science. He has worked on several projects combining approaches from both areas with Professor Jim Morrow in the Department of Mathematics. Currently, their research focuses on establishing the computational complexity of geometric problems, such as centroid and volume computation. Mark’s eventual goal is to derive a consequential hardless of approximation result for the particular problem of integrating a polynomial over a simplex. His work has been generously supported by a Mary Gates Research Scholarships, a Washington NASA Space Grant award, and an NSF Research Training Grant. After graduation, Mark plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical computer science, perhaps with a focus on computational learning theory, and then conduct research at a university or tech company. Outside of his coursework and research, Mark enjoys working as a mathematics teaching assistant, serving as a lector at his parish, and studying Byzantine history and numismatics.


Benjamin Dulken, Scholar

Junior, Bioengineering major

Ben Dulken is a Junior in the Department of Bioengineering. He is currently conducting research in the lab of Dr. Suzie Pun investigating novel biomaterials and nanoparticles to aid in drug delivery. Currently, he is assessing the ability of novel mixed polymer nanoparticles to encapsulate and deliver chemotherapeutics and imaging agents to solid tumors. This spring, with the support of the Thomas Bardos Science Education Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) he will be traveling to Florida to present on the efficacy of the nanoparticle delivery system at the AACR National Meeting. Also, this past summer, as an Amgen Scholar in the Pun Lab, he developed and tested a degradable biomaterial designed to provide controlled local drug release to the cochlea of the inner ear. After graduation, Ben hopes to obtain an MD/Ph.D. in biomolecular engineering, and work towards the discovery of novel drug delivery mechanisms to maximize therapeutic efficacy and mitigate the adverse effects of toxic pharmaceutical drugs. When he is not in the lab, Ben enjoys being outdoors and keeping fit. He is an avid cyclist and hiker. He has been a member of the UW Cycling Team for the past two years, and has competed in numerous cycling races throughout the Northwest. Ben also enjoys playing the piano in his free time.


Jane Hung, Scholar

Junior, Physics and Mathematics major

At the age of 16, I left high school after my sophomore year to enter the University as a UW Academy student. I had it in my mind that I wanted to take advantage of one thing that made the University world renowned: research. Accordingly, I applied to the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and a few months before the start of the school year, I began research with Professor Xiaosong Li and his computational chemistry group. Thanks to the NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Mary Gates Endowment, I had tremendous support throughout my first research experience. That initial experience showed me how exciting and challenging research could be, so I decided to stay in the Li group and gain more valuable experience with new projects.

For over a year, I have been working on a computational study of nonlinear optical chromophores, which may play a key role in future nanotechnologies and photovoltaic devices (e.g. LEDs and solar cells). This project has allowed me to work directly with professors, graduate students, and senior research scientists from very different fields. As a consequence of these interactions, I have grown as a researcher, presenter, writer, and student. I have even become a published author. The insight I have acquired into the materials of the future is absolutely priceless, and my goal now is to help turn clean technology into global power.

Because of the immense generosity of the Washington Research Foundation, the NASA Space Grant Consortium, and the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, I can continue to research and develop materials that will become vital future technologies.


Cameron Turtle, Scholar

Junior, Bioengineering and Mathematics major

Cameron Turtle studies the mechanisms of cardiac function and dysfunction in Dr. Michael Regnier’s Bioengineering lab. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop novel therapeutics, including genetic and stem cell therapies, which restore heart function after damage or disease. Cameron’s is currently investigating the potential of a novel regulatory protein variant to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and is exploring the long-term mechanical effect of heart attacks on cardiac tissue. Outside of the lab, he works with the student group ‘Bioengineers Without Borders’ whose goal is to develop innovative solutions to global health problems through the development of appropriate medical technologies. Cameron is also an avid runner and competes in intramural athletics. After graduation, Cameron plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering and a career in medical research at either a research-focused university or private company. His eventual goal is to lead a lab which aims to replace symptomatic pharmaceutical treatments with therapies that target the root cause of disease.

2009 - 2010

Devon Chandler-Brown, Scholar

Junior, Biology and Biochemistry major, French major

I am studying general biology and biochemistry and will graduate in 2011. I plan on pursuing a doctorate degree in the biomedical sciences and my particular interest is in studying the mechanisms that drive the formaüon of disease with the goal of developing therapeutic interventions. My hope is that I will also get a chance to teach at the university level and pass on some of my enthusiasm for science to new researchers. Currently, my research in the Kaeberlein Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the process of aging and I am following several avenues of research in the field.
I am a Washington state native hailing from the town of Bothell. Aside from school and research, I enjoy horseback riding, swing dancing, reading Victorian and romantic era literature and backpacking.


Noah Horwitz, Scholar

Junior, Chemistry major

I have been interested in science for as long as I can remember. The joy of discovery has always captivated me. As a child, I would collect pond water and look at it under a microscope with my parents, marveling at the diversity of the life within a single drop. But apart from merely being interesting, science is also tremendously useful. Our society today is built on the technologies that have developed from science, and scientific investigation is key to ensuring future technological advancement. It is this combination of interest and importance that has spurred my interest in a scientific career. I knew I enjoyed chemistry when I entered the UW, but didn’t decide to major in it until I took the honors introductory chemistry sequence. The sequence was well-taught and helped me become excited about chemistry through the demonstrations and labs. The class also introduced me to the possibility of participating in research in chemistry. I contacted several professors, and eventually decided to work with Professor David Ginger, one of my professors in the aforementioned course.

Over the past year, I have been able to work directly with Professor Ginger and the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other undergraduates in his lab. I think this direct connection to experts in my field of study has been invaluable to my development as a scientist. In addition, being able to apply concepts learned in my chemistry, math, and physics classes has added depth to my education. Finally, I have learned a lot about organic photovoltaics, an exciting and important field.

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in chemistry, with the eventual goal of obtaining an academic faculty position. I look forward to being able to conduct scientific research and teach new scientists.


Sherry Lee, Scholar

Junior, Biology (Molecular, cellular, and developmental) major

My mother has always been my heroine and a source of motivation. Every day, she selflessly tries to provide the best care to patients with cancer. Through my mother, I have personally witnessed the hardships caused by cancer to both the physician and patient. As a result, I want to learn more about cancer etiology in order to better understand how it ravages the human body. ‘Thanks to my mentor, Dr. Paul Nghiem, I have realized that a career in medicine is truly gratifying not when a physician simply prescribes readily available drugs, but when a physician can propose and test a more effective therapeutic treatment. Overall, my undergraduate research experience has led me on a promising path to pursue a career in translational medicine, I plan to attend a Medical Scientist Training Program after graduation to continue biomedical research. My professional goals include teaching and conducting translational research in academia.

As a first-generation immigrant, I am extremely appreciative of the high quality education and research involvement that I have been engaging in. The University of Washington Honors Program has provided a unique learning environment for me to pursue my interests. Furthermore, as a member of the Mary Gates Research Scholars and Levinson Emerging Scholars community, I have the opportunity to interact with peers of similar interests. Overall, my rigorous college education, coupled with intensive research, has enabled me to develop many useful skills for graduate studies and beyond.


Christopher Mount, Scholar

Junior, Bioengineering and Neurobiology major

Christopher Mount is a junior majoring in Bioengineering and Neurobiology at the University of Washington. Over the past year he has been conducting drug delivery research in Dr. Suzie Punts lab. His primary work focuses on the development of a triblock copolymer micelle drug delivery system. He and his mentor are investigating the potential of this system to enhance the delivery characteristics and stability of a dye used in medical imaging. More recently, they have turned their attention to assessing whether micellar encapsulation can enhance the treatment potential of chemotherapeutic drugs. His research has been generously founded by the Mary Gates Foundation and the Amgen Scholars Program.

Following graduation, Christopher intends to obtain a Ph.D in biomedical engineering in combination with a medical degree through an M.D./Ph.D. program. He hopes that this background will allow him to establish a successful research career in academic medicine developing new cancer therapeutics and regenerative therapies for the nervous system.

Beyond the lab, Christopher is a participant in the University of Washington’s Bioengineers Without Borders, a recently-founded student organization dedicated to developing low-cost engineering solutions to healthcare challenges in the developing world. When the opportunity arises, Chris enjoys spending time in the great outdoors of Washington State, particularly hiking and fishing.

2008 - 2009

Matthew Becker, Nominee

Chemistry and Neurobiology major


Pranoti Hiremath, Scholar

Bioengineering major

Hiremath’s career goal is a M.D./Ph.D. in Bioengineering. Conduct research in biomedical engineering and apply clinical experience to research.


Andrew Ishizuka, Honorable Mention

Biochemistry and Chemistry major

Ishizuka’s career goal is a M.D./Ph.D. in Pathobiology. Lead innovative research projects in diseases that affect populations in developing regions of the world.


Rita Sodt, Nominee

Computer Engineering major


2007 - 2008

Nate Bottman, Scholar

Math, Applied Math, and Russian major

Bottman’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. Conduct research by applying mathematics to physical problems and teach at the university level.


Julia Moore, Scholar

Applied & Computational Math Sciences major

Moore’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Participate in international health research and education.


Samuel Sudar, Honorable Mention

Neurobiology, Philosophy, and English majors

Sudar’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Neurobiology or Cellular Biology. Conduct research aimed at addressing the neurodegeneration that occurs as a result of disease and senescence.


Kathy Wei, Scholar

Bioengineering and Computer Science major

Wei’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Bioengineering. Conduct research that combines and takes advantage of both bioengineering and computer science to improve disease treatment.


2006 - 2007

Sam Burden, Honorable Mention

Electrical Engineering major

Burden’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Conduct research on robotic devices, developing the theoretical foundations for the design and control of these machines.


Jennifer Driggers, Scholar

Physics major

Drigger’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Physics. Conduct research on gravitational wave physics and teach at a research university.


Julia Schwarz, Scholar

Computer Science major

Schwarz’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Conduct research in human computer interactions and teach students how to creatively approach interesting problems in computer science.


Pavan Vaswani, Scholar

Neurobiology, Computer Science, and Biochemistry major

Vaswani’s career goal is a M.D./Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Conduct research developing medical technologies/create devices that can have a significant impact on the lives of patients.


2005 - 2006

Owen D. Biesel, Scholar

Mathematics and Physics major

Biesel’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Subatomic Physics. Conduct research abroad and study extensions of quantum field theory or quantum information theory and teach at the university level.


Jeffrey W Eaton, Scholar

Mathematics and Sociology major

Eaton’s career goal is a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Conduct research at a research university to study mathematical models with a focus on developing theoretical modeling techniques/statistical methodologies related to modeling.


Sean M Hughes, Scholar

Biochemistry, Neurobiology, and Danish major

Hughes’ career goals are a M.D./Ph.D. in Neuroscience, conduct research and teach.


Mei Liu, Honorable Mention

Electrical Engineering major

Liu’s career goal is a M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Conduct research to improve and advance biological sensors for early medical diagnoses of deadly diseases.


2004 - 2005

Lesley A. Everett, Scholar

Biochemistry major


Jennifer M. Lee, Honorable Mention

Neurobiology major


Jason M. Parker, Scholar

Electrical Engineering major


Anna R. Schneider, Scholar

Biochemistry major


2003 - 2004

Noah Giansiracusa, Scholar

Mathematics major


Eliana Hechter, Scholar

Computer Science major


Jennifer Lee, Honorable Mention

Neurobiology major


Jonathan Su, Scholar

Computer Engineering major


2002 - 2003

Sarah Collier, Nominee

Botany major


Anna Fortin, Nominee

Cell and Molecular Biology major


Peter Norgaard, Scholar

Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering major


Jared Silva, Scholar

Chemistry and Biochemistry major


2001 - 2002

Daniel Brown, Nominee

Aerospace Engineering major


Jeffrey Giansiracusa, Scholar

Physics and Mathematics major


Sheeny Lan, Nominee

Ceramic Engineering major


Hoang Nhan, Scholar

Neurology and Neurobiology major


2000 - 2001

Tim Chin, Scholar

Material Science & Engineering major


Devin Kipp, Scholar

Energetics/Aeronautics & Astronautics major


Hoang Nhan, Nominee

Neurology and Neurobiology major


Annika Peter, Scholar

Physics and Astronomy major


1999 - 2000

Adrian N. Fehr, Scholar

Physics and Mathematics major


Cynthia E. Fisher, Scholar

Bioengineering and Biochemistry major


Janice J. Kim,  Scholar

Bioengineering and Biochemistry major


Toby Wu, Honorable Mention

Electrical Engineering and Molecular & Cellular Biology major