Lynne Chantranupong and Sean Simmons, undergraduates in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, are among the 278 students nationally who have been named Goldwater Scholars for the 2009-2010 academic year.
The scholarships are awarded annually to outstanding second- and third-year college students enrolled in science and engineering programs.
The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,097 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Chantranupong, a junior from Ontario, Canada, is a cell and molecular biology major, and a researcher in the lab of Professor George Georgiou. In Dr. Georgiou's lab, she has been working on improving the enzyme arginase so it can be used in chemotherapy for cancers such as melanomas and hepatocellular carcinomas.
"I've never seen an undergraduate with this level of talent, focus and productivity in my 22 years in academia," says Georgiou, a professor of chemical engineering. "If she continues to be as productive in the lab as she's been, I fully expect that by the time she graduates her publication record will be comparable to the upper tier of students that have completed their doctoral studies."
Simmons, a junior from Sugar Land, Texas, is a mathematics major. He's researching the algebraic aspects of what is known as the "abelian sandpile model." He has also been taking graduate level mathematics courses since the first semester of his sophomore year.
"Not only has Sean's coursework in mathematics been remarkably advanced," says Dr. Geir Helleloid, a Bing Instructor of Mathematics, "his research accomplishments as an undergraduate are already quite impressive. He's steered his investigation of the abelian sandpile model into several unexpected directions, generating computational data suggesting some very novel and powerful conjectures."
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The scholarship program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. In its 21-year history, the foundation has awarded 5,801 scholarships worth about $56 million.