Four in Class of 2017 win Barry Goldwater Scholarships

Four members of Cornell’s Class of 2017 have been named recipients of 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate award of its type, given annually for merit in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.

Winners from Cornell – the only Ivy League school with four recipients – are Shivansh Chawla, chemistry and chemical biology; Robert Lee, chemical and biomolecular engineering; Charles T. Wan, chemical engineering; and Zachary Ziegler, engineering physics.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program, honoring former Arizona Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. In the last 11 years, 28 Cornell undergraduates have been named Goldwater scholars and nine have received honorable mention.

Chawla, from Westford, Massachusetts, hopes to earn a doctorate in chemical biology. His goals are to better understand the biochemistry underpinning diseases and teach at the university level while researching biological systems to help explain how diseases progress. A writer for Synapse, an undergraduate neuroscience journal, Chawla is a researcher in the lab of Yimon Aye, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology. Aye and Thomas Ruttledge, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, recommended Chowla for the scholarship.

Lee, from Palo Alto, California, aspires to earn his doctorate in bioengineering and teach at the university level, while helping to develop everything from inexpensive drugs to affordable biofuels. Lee was a Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholar in 2015 and is an intern in the lab of Matthew DeLisa, the William L. Lewis Professor of Engineering. DeLisa and T.M. Duncan, the Raymond G. Thorpe Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, recommended Lee for the scholarship.

Wan, from Rochester, New York, hopes to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering, teach at the university level and contribute to the research and development of clean energy. Wan was the recipient of an Engineering Learning Initiatives grant in fall 2015, which furthered his work in the lab of Lynden Archer, the William C. Hooey Director and James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Archer and Duncan recommended Wan.

Ziegler, from Wellesley, Massachusetts, hopes to earn a doctorate in applied physics, teach at the university level and conduct research in nanotechnology. He was an Engineering Learning Initiatives grantee and won the Arthur “Cully” Bryant Scholarship, both in 2015. He was third author on a 2015 research paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, “Chiral atomically thin films,” from the lab of associate professor Jiwoong Park. DeLisa and Duncan recommended Ziegler.

Cornell was one of just five schools that had all four of its nominees earn scholarships; the others were Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of North Texas. Each institution was limited to four nominations.

Cornell’s Goldwater Scholarship endorsement committee this year consisted of Tom Brenna, nutritional sciences; Tim Healey, mathematics; Laurel Southard, director of undergraduate research; Mariana Wolfner, molecular biology and genetics; and Beth Fiori, fellowships coordinator.

This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle. 

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