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March 8, 2007

Three earn medalist honors for scholarship

Three UW students receiving medals for high scholarship for the 2005-6 academic year were honored at a private reception hosted by President Mark Emmert Friday, March 2.

The students are honored for their overall record of scholarship but not necessarily the highest grade point average.

This year’s freshman medalist is Nate Bottman, 16, who entered the UW through the Transition School, part of the Early Entrance Program. Bottman plans to major in math and applied math, and possibly also in physics. At the UW, Bottman has received the Fluke Networks scholarship, a Mary Gates research scholarship, and two grants to work with a faculty member in the Department of Applied Mathematics. Bottman, now a sophomore, has already taken at least one graduate-level course in applied mathematics. He has recently participated in a mathematical modeling contest, in which teams of undergraduates have a limited amount of time to provide a solution to a real-world problem.

Jeremy Yangshi Chan, 17, also entered the UW from the Transition School. A neurobiology major, Chan has been on the Dean’s List every quarter since entering the UW. Chan and two of his friends have founded a nonprofit organization, Care for Kids, whose mission is to raise awareness for children orphaned due to AIDS in Zambia and surrounding African countries. Chan credits the “fantastic faculty” at the UW for his academic success. In his spare time, Chan plays and referees soccer, and also participates in football, tennis, skiing and snowboarding. He also plays the piano.

Minh-An Nguyen, 21, is the junior medalist, majoring in biochemistry and chemistry. She plans to attend dental school. She has been both a Mary Gates Leadership Scholar and a Mary Gates Research Scholar. She also has been honored as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Intern in 2005-6 and as a recipient of the Hyp Dauben award for the outstanding undergraduate in the H-organic chemistry sequence in 2005. One of her favorite experiences at the UW was going on the Honors Rome Program in 2005. “Being able to learn about art history by actually visiting the site is an amazing feeling,” she said. “It pushed me outside my comfort zone and I learned so much about myself.”

Nguyen is Vietnamese but born in Norway. “I hope to use my Vietnamese skills and my own experiences as an immigrant to help other immigrants in the future,” she said. “I feel that growing up as a poor minority enables me to be a dentist who can relate and be open to a diverse population, because in them I see my own family struggling to make it.”