Biochemistry Senior Wins $20,000 Top Prize in University Co-op George H. Mitchell Student Awards

Yuxuan Wang, a senior majoring in biochemistry, has won the $20,000 grand prize in the 10th annual University Co-op George H. Mitchell Awards for Academic Excellence for undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin.

The University Co-op awards celebrate and reward undergraduate students who have demonstrated unparalleled dedication and achievement in their fields of study.

Three other undergraduates, Matthew Montry, architecture senior; Michael Collins, Asian studies and Plan II senior; and Robbie Earle, government and Spanish senior, won the second prize and received $5,000 each.

The five winners of the $2,000 awards were: Ari Schulman, English and computer science senior; Allison Bullock, geography honors and biology senior; Charles Beaman, mechanical engineering honors senior; Jesse Cordes Selbin, humanities honors and English senior; and Amanda Cayo, theatre and dance and Plan II senior.

Wang was nominated by Andrew Ellington, the Wilson M. and Kathryn Fraser Research Professor in Biochemistry, for her honors thesis "Aptamer Antagonists of Myelin Promote Axon Growth," which focuses on central nervous system repair. She was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development to pursue her research and has been recognized locally and nationally, winning the Barry M. Goldwater Award as a sophomore.

Wang will begin an M.D./Ph.D. program next fall, after selecting between full fellowships at Johns Hopkins University and Washington University at St. Louis.

"When we step back from the targets of our day-to-day issues, The University of Texas at Austin is extraordinary," said Michael Granof, chairperson of the University Co-operative Society. "By any reasonable standards it is one of the intellectual treasures of our country. And the students that we honor--as well as many of their classmates--will be the scientific, literary, artistic and political leaders of the future. They give us every reason to be optimistic about what lies ahead for Texas, the United States, and indeed, the world."

Granof hosted the awards presentation on April 29 at the Four Seasons Hotel.