Four students from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas have been named 2019 Goldwater Scholars.
UNT leads Texas universities in the number of Goldwater Scholars in math, science and engineering, with a total of 64 scholars named since 1996. This year, no other university in the state of Texas — public or private — had four scholars.
“In the entire country, there were only 14 universities that have four Goldwater scholars this year,” said James Duban, associate dean for research and national scholarships, TAMS and the Honors College.
2019 Goldwater Scholars:
- Jonathan Lu conducted research on laser-aided surface treatment of magnesium-based alloys for biomedical applications in the laboratory of Narendra Dahotre, interim vice president for research and innovation at UNT. Additionally, in the lab of chemistry professor William Acree, Lu conducted research on models of organic chemicals and their thermodynamic properties. He has co-authored three published articles and was one of TAMS’ first Early-Research Scholars, which allowed him to conduct research the summer before commencing his initial fall semester at TAMS. Lu was recognized as a Top 5 Research Presenter at the 35th Research Science Institute, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Center for Excellence in Education, a gold medalist at the International Sustainable World (Energy, Environment, and Engineering) Project Olympiad and a silver medalist at the International GENIUS Olympiad. Lu is from Dallas, Texas.
- Rishi Shridharan, whose research tests a model for the maturation of brain cells, worked in the laboratory of Jannon Fuchs, professor of biological sciences. He has also developed low-cost solutions to combat disease in underserved areas and conducted research with UT-Dallas researcher Faruck Morcos on the use of mobile apps to instruct middle school students about molecular biology. Shridharan was named a 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar, is a fellow of the American Junior Academy of Science and received first prize in Microbiology/Biochemistry from the 2019 Texas Junior Academy of Science. He is president of the TAMS Medical Society. Shridharan is from Plano, Texas.
- Ellen Qian helped develop an innovative predictive model for solvent replacement that enabled replacement of harmful solvents with “green” solvents in the laboratory of UNT chemistry professor, William Acree. Qian also worked with Jie Zheng at UT-Dallas on the luminescence emitted by sliver nanoparticles. Qian is co-author of 10 publications in leading journals and was one of TAMS’ first Early-Research Scholars. She placed third in chemistry at the Texas Science and Engineering Fair 2018 and was a 2019 state medalist at the Texas Visual Arts Scholastic Event. Qian is from Plano, Texas.
- David Yue, who working under the guidance of John Ferraris at UT-Dallas, made strides toward the creation of a new air-pollution membrane filter for atmospheric purification and gas separation. He earned a second-place award in environmental engineering at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his research. He also worked in the UNT laboratories of William Acree and Hong Wang. Yue is the co-author of six research publications. Yue was the first TAMS student to be named a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Yue is from Plano, Texas.
“As a Tier One research university, UNT takes undergraduate education very seriously. Hands-on opportunities for research are very important,” said Glênisson de Oliveira, dean of TAMS and UNT’s Honor College. “TAMS students certainly learn science or engineering at a much deeper level, and they learn so much more including leadership, organization and communication skills. We are proud of our very creative and capable students, but equally as important, the success we have in undergraduate research is due to the quality of our faculty mentors.”
Goldwater Scholar awards are considered to be among the country’s most prestigious scholarships awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering. Scholarships of up to $7,500 a year are provided to help cover costs associated with tuition, fees, books, room and board. Students are chosen on the basis of their scientific research, grade point averages and other achievements. Universities are allowed a maximum of four submissions a year.