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Five Indian Americans From New England Awarded Goldwater Scholarship


As the result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP), Mrs. Peggy Goldwater Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced that the Trustees of the Goldwater Board have increased the number of Goldwater scholarships it has awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year to 496 college students from across the United States. “As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the U.S. is developing this talent,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the NDEP program, as he explained the new partnership. With the 2019 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 8,628 and a scholarship total to over $68M.

From an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 443 academic institutions to compete for the 2019 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 241 of the Scholars are men, 252 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Sixty-two Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 360 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 74 are majoring in engineering. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 92 Rhodes Scholarships, 137 Marshall Awards, 159 Churchill Scholarships, 104 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Winners from New England institutions included:

Saurabh Kumar
Institution: University of Connecticut
Field of Study: Life Sciences
Career Goal: M.D./Ph.D. in neurobiology. I aspire to conduct research on novel therapies to treat damage in the central nervous system and teach at the medical/graduate school level.
Mentor(s): Joanne Conover, Ling Cao, Virginia McLane, Krysti Todd, Thomas Peters, Kristopher Kahle

Rahul Nagvekar
Institution: Yale University
Field of Study: Life Sciences
Career Goal: After completing a Ph.D. in molecular biology, I envision being a faculty member at an academic institution in the U.S., leading and guiding a team at the forefront of research in cancer epigenetics.
Mentor(s): Nadya Dimitrova, Benjamin Pinsky, George Calin, Hung Ton-That, William Margolin, Ephrath Tesfaye, Megan Fitzpatrick, Fu Xiao, Chungyu Chang, Daniel Haeusser, Justen Manasa, Belkys Sanchez

Abijith Krishnan
Institution: Harvard University
Field of Study: Physics and Astronomy
Career Goal: I plan to obtain a Ph.D. in Physics so that I can pursue condensed matter physics research and teach as a professor.
Mentor(s): Markus Heyl, Ashvin Vishwanath, Nicole Herbots, Shan-Yuan Ho, Markus Schmitt, Clarizza Watson, Roderich Moessner, 

Ashwin Sah
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of Study: Mathematical Sciences
Career Goal: Ph.D. in Mathematics. Perform research in theoretical mathematics and teach as faculty at a university.
Mentor(s): Joe Gallian, Yufei Zhao 

Tara Thakurta
Institution: Brown University
Field of Study: Life Sciences
Career Goal: PhD in Biochemistry. Conduct research to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer.
Mentor(s): Louis Lapierre, Lynn Kamen, Edwin Chang, Camila Forsberg, Patrick Robinson, Rebekah Sousae

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