Goldwaters are considered to be among the country’s most prestigious scholarships awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering. All college sophomores and juniors are eligible to compete for the scholarships, which provide up to $7,500 for tuition, fees, books and room and board.
This year’s scholars are Helen Xiong and Kevin Chen, both students at UNT’s Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS), a two-year residential program at UNT that allows gifted students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while earning their high school diplomas.
“These awards highlight the talents of all our TAMS students,” said TAMS Dean Richard Sinclair. “The wonderful students, excellent mentoring by faculty, and strong support of the university are an unbeatable combination.”
Xiong studies physics and materials science engineering at UNT.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and support that the TAMS program and UNT have given me,” Xiong said. “I have always loved learning about the scientific principles that make our world work, and I enjoy scientific research because it allows me to use my passion for science to improve the quality of life for people around the world. I think that physics and materials science, in particular, are versatile fields that could benefit many people in the future.”
Xiong has worked on research projects including refining the equation for defining polymer brittleness, and better understanding how clay particles can strengthen the wear properties of polymer nanocomposites, which affect industrial machinery and enhance the study of friction in materials science.
Chen is studying genetics at UNT.
“I am truly humbled by the honor of being named a Goldwater scholar,” Chen said. “The Goldwater scholarship represents all the values that I hope to achieve in my career. When I think of a Goldwater scholar, I am reminded of what the true scientist embodies: a passion for innovation, a fearlessness of failure, and a spirit of unwavering curiosity. Now a Goldwater scholar myself, it is extremely gratifying to know that I have taken my first step toward becoming the researcher I know I can be.”
Chen has worked on research projects including the development of a new statistical tool for the analysis of cancer data. By developing this tool, Chen has contributed to the detection of cancer genes that may be critical biomarkers for cancer treatments.
Since its first award in 1989, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded more than 6,550 scholarships worth about $40 million.