Indian-American researchers in Goldwater scholarship 2019

The scholarship encourages students to pursue higher studies in the field of science


May 29, 2019

/ By / Kolkata


(l-r) Wasan Kumar, Maya Verma, Sherry Sarkar, Rahul Nagvekar

More than 40 Indian-American students have been selected as Barry Goldwater Scholars this year.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation announced its 2019 class of Goldwater Scholars and more than 40 Indian-Americans have been named in the group. They have made it to the group of 496 selected from a nationally competitive field of 1,223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students nominated by about 443 academic institutions.

Peggy Goldwater Clay, chair of the Board of Trustees of the foundation, announced the names of the scholars along with the news that the trustees of the Goldwater Board have increased the number of Goldwater scholarships it has awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year to 496 college students from across the United States due to the result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP).

“As it is vitally important that the Nation ensures that it has the scientific talent it needs to maintain its global competitiveness and security, we saw partnering with the Goldwater Foundation as a way to help ensure the US is developing this talent,” said Dr Jagadeesh Pamulapati, director of the NDEP, as he explained the new partnership.

Most of the scholars have impressive academic and research credentials, have published their research in leading journals and also presented their work at professional society conferences.

Few of the scholars

Most of the Indian-American students selected are from the life science departments while others are engineering, mathematics, CISE, chemistry and physics and astronomy sections.

Gokul Gowri of California Institute of Technology, Vinay Ayyappan of Johns Hopkins University, Bhavish Dinakar of University of California (UC) Berkeley and Amar Bhardwaj of Colombia University are the engineering students selected for the scholarship. They want to complete their doctorates in their respective fields and then conduct researches regarding molecular programming, metabolomics and renewable energy sources.

Maya Varma and Sahaj Garg of Stanford University, Sherry Sarkar of Georgia Institute of Technology and Maya Talukdar of Colombia University have been selected as CISE students for the scholarship. They hope to get their PhDs in computer science and teach at university level. They also want to conduct academic research in different areas like designing algorithms, representation learning and neuropsychiatric disorders using high-throughput sequencing methods.

The Indian-American mathematics students who made it to the scholarship are UCLA’s Anshul Adve, University of Chicago’s Nikhil Pandit, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Ashwin Sah, Michigan State University’s Mohit Bansil and Cornell University’s Kabir Kapoor. They hope to earn their doctorates in mathematics, then conduct research and teach at the university level.

A few of chemistry students also made it to the list like University of Illinois’s (Urbana-Champaign) Philip Kocheril, University of Louisville’s Praneeth Goli, Creighton University’s Siddharth Venkatraman, Duke University’s Azim Dharani and University of Cincinnati’s Chinmay Bakshi. The selected Indian-American physics and astronomy students like Harvard University’s Abijith Krishnan, Rutgers University’s Rikab Gambhir, University of Pennsylvania’s Srinivas Mandyam and University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Luquant Singh also want to go into higher studies and research in their respective fields like matter physics and nuclear fusion. Material research student Sahil Patel from Rice University wants to conduct research in nanomaterials.

About 20 of the selected Indian-American students are from the life science stream. Few of them are UC Riverside’s Amrik Kang, Yale’s Rahul Nagvekar, University of Pittsburgh’s Swapna Subramanian and Teja Peddada, University of Illinois’s (Chicago) Wasan Kumar, University of Miami’s Shwetha Mudalegundi, Vanderbilt University’s Aakash Basu, University of Washington’s Irika Sinha and many others. All of them have plans to obtain PhDs in fields like biochemistry, neuroscience, biomedical science, molecular biology, gene therapy and such. They want to further carry out researches on cancer treatments, neurodegenerative diseases, psychopharmacology, evolutionary biology and others.

The Goldwater Scholarship programme honouring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. With the 2019 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 8,628 and a scholarship total to over USD 68 million.

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