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July 22, 2010

UW students win Udall, Boren, Goldwater scholarships

Seven UW students have been chosen for prestigious national scholarships this year. Two have captured Morris K. Udall Scholarships, one will receive a David L. Boren Scholarship, while four are being honored as Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

Morris K. Udall Scholarship

The past accomplishments and future promise of UW undergraduates Audrey Djunaedi and Geoffrey Morgan are being recognized with scholarships from the Morris K. Udall Foundation. The two were selected from a pool of 537 candidates nominated by 256 colleges and universities. Each scholarship provides up to $5,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year. The foundation selected 80 students from 63 colleges and universities as Udall Scholars.

Morgan was born and raised on a farm in a small town outside of Seattle called Hobart. An Honors Program student at the University, Morgan discovered that he wanted to “get out, explore, and help people around the world. To do this, I decided to major in civil and environmental engineering and international studies.”

While studying abroad in Chengdu, China, he conducted an independent undergraduate research project in two Yi minority villages on the recent NGO water projects that had been built. He analyzed them to see the effects they had on the villagers’ way of life. Morgan also analyzed the factors that enabled the project’s success. To culminate his research, he designed and built a water project that supplied 36 homes and a primary school with potable water. He remains in contact with the village and is part of an organization that raises money to send students to school beyond primary school as well as pay for teachers and other school necessities.

Morgan was studying in Sichuan Province, China, when the 2008 earthquake struck. Instead of returning home, he and a fellow undergraduate started a relief effort to get school supplies and aid to kids in the area.

As a freshman, Djunaedi intended to double major in music and engineering before her curiosity about the marine world inspired her to double major in fisheries and oceanography instead. She is currently involved with the Environmental Alternative Spring Break program at the UW, where undergraduates develop and teach an interactive, inquiry-based curriculum to elementary and middle school classrooms in Brewster and La Push, WA, learning from the students and communities they visit. Djunaedi enjoys exploring the outdoors, biking, spending quality time with her violin, volunteering, and hearing stories about people.

Udall scholarships are awarded to students based on their commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; and academic achievement. Since 2001, 12 UW undergraduates have been named Udall Scholars and four earned honorable mention.

The Morris K. Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that was created by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Udall’s legacy of public service. Congressman Udall served in the House of Representatives for three decades, a career distinguished by civility, integrity and consensus. His love for the environment resulted in numerous pieces of legislation, chief among them the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, which doubled the size of the national park system and tripled our national wilderness. Congressman Udall also championed the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, using his leadership in Congress to strengthen tribal self-governance.

The Foundation’s education programs are supported by a trust fund in the U.S. Treasury and contributions from the private sector. The Udall Foundation also includes the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, which assists in resolving conflicts related to the environment, public lands, and natural resources.

David L. Boren Scholarship

UW junior Daetan Huck was recently selected as a National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholar to study Arabic at the American University of Cairo in Egypt during the 2010-11 academic year. Huck is majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. He spent the 2009-10 academic year studying in Turkey. Huck is a United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate.

The Boren Scholarship is a major national scholarship that provides U.S. undergraduates up to $20,000 to study abroad for an academic year in world regions critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American & the Caribbean, and the Middle East), and are intended to provide support to students who will pursue the study of languages and cultures currently underrepresented in study abroad and critical to U.S. national security. UW students Anna Noble and Monica Robinson were selected as alternates.

For the second consecutive year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received a record number of applications for both the undergraduate Boren Scholarship and the graduate Boren Fellowship. This year, 925 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship and 138 were awarded, while 519 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship and 99 were awarded. Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 51 different countries and study 43 different languages. The most popular countries are China, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, and Japan, and the most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) was established by the National Security Education Act of 1991, which created the National Security Education Board, the National Security Education Program, and resources to provide undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and institutional grants.

NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation selected four UW juniors as Goldwater Scholars. Scholarships are awarded to college sophomores and juniors entering the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. This year’s Goldwater Scholars are Devon Chandler-Brown, Noah Horwitz, Sherry Lee, and Christopher Mount.

A Washington state native, Chandler-Brown is studying general biology and biochemistry and will graduate in 2011. He plans to pursue a doctorate in the biomedical sciences, with a particular interest in studying the mechanisms that drive the formation of disease to develop therapeutic interventions. He also hopes to teach at the university level and “pass on some of my enthusiasm for science to new researchers.”

Chandler-Brown has already shared his interest in science through volunteering to teach environmental science, earth science and chemistry in schools in La Push, Bothell, and Seattle to students from the 1st through 12th grades. Recently, Chandler-Brown was named a UW campus nominee for the Gates Cambridge and Marshall scholarships.

Horwitz conducts research on organic solar cells under the mentorship of chemistry professor David Ginger. Horwitz uses optical and electrical techniques to probe the physical and chemical structure of organic photovoltaic devices. Interested in science “for as long as I can remember,” Horwitz decided to major in chemistry after completing the honors introductory chemistry sequence, which also introduced the idea of participating in research. After graduate, Horwitz plans to earn a doctorate in chemistry and eventually become a faculty member at a university, looking forward “to being able to conduct scientific research and teach new scientists.”

Lee credits her mother, who provides care to patients with cancer, as a source of motivation. “Through my mother,” Lee writes, “I have personally witnessed the hardships caused by cancer to both the physician and patient.” This experience instigated Lee’s interest in cancer etiology to better understand its affects on the body. By working with mentor Dr. Paul Nghiem, Lee has witnessed the benefits of research in this field. After graduation, Lee plans to attend a medical scientist training program and eventually teach and conduct translational research in academia to improve understanding of cancer etiology.

Mount’s work in Dr. Suzie Pun’s lab focuses on the development of a triblock copolymer micelle drug delivery system. He and his mentor are investigating the potential of this system to enhance the delivery characteristics and stability of a dye used in medical imaging. More recently, they are assessing whether micellar encapsulation can enhance the treatment potential of chemotherapeutic drugs. Beyond the lab, Mount participates in the UW’s chapter of Bioengineers Without Borders and hikes and fishes. Following graduation, Mount plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in combination with a medical degree through an M.D./Ph.D. program. He hopes to work in academic medicine, developing new cancer therapeutics and regenerative therapies for the nervous system.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The UW’s science and research strength helps undergraduates be more competitive for this scholarship. One hundred fifty-six of the scholars are men, 122 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a doctorate. Seventeen Scholars are mathematics majors, 199 are science and related majors, 53 are majoring in engineering, and nine are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines. 

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. Four scholars is the maximum number of scholars awarded to any institution in a particular year. Since 2001, 28 UW undergraduates have been named Goldwater Scholars and four earned honorable mention.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.