Undergraduate Academic Affairs

April 24, 2008

University of Washington undergraduates earn prestigious national scholarships

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Written by Kirsten Atik

SEATTLE—This spring, 12 University of Washington undergraduates are being distinguished from a nation-wide pool of thousands by national scholarship foundations for their academic achievements. Eight students have been named national scholars and four have earned either an honorable mention or finalist designation. These national scholarships, including the Marshall, Truman, Udall, Goldwater scholarships and Rangel Fellowship are highly competitive and bring recognition of accomplishments and future promise and opportunities to the undergraduates receiving them.

“I’m honored to be named a Goldwater Scholar and am excited that I can continue to devote time to bioengineering research in Dr. Pun’s laboratory,” says junior Kathy Wei, an Honors student majoring in biochemistry and computer science. “Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the support of Dr. Pun, Dr. Grossman, Dr. Neils, and many others. The University of Washington’s great programs, like NASA SURP and Amgen Scholars, definitely contributed to my competitiveness for the Goldwater and have shaped my career thus far in biomedical research.”

“These scholarships are much deserved recognition of the talent and promise exhibited by these undergraduates,” said Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “They have embraced the academic and experiential learning opportunities available to UW undergraduates and are now receiving the accolades they deserve for their accomplishments.”

University of Washington undergraduates consistently rise to a national level, receiving the same awards also earned by undergraduates attending Ivy League schools.

The 2008 students and scholarships are:

Morris K. Udall Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship

Each year, the Foundation awards 80 undergraduate scholarships up to $5,000 to juniors and seniors in fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care or tribal policy. This year was the most competitive year yet, with more than 500 students in competition for the scholarship. This is the first time two Native American UW students have received the scholarship and the first time two UW students have received the honorable mention recognition.


Donna Neagle, junior
Major in nursing
Hometown: Carnation, WA
Donna Neagle hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in psychiatric nursing and work with youth survivors of abuse. As a sophomore she founded the Native American Nursing Project in order to equip and encourage Native American high school students to pursue a higher education with a focus on nursing. She has also volunteered for the Burton Snowboard CHILL program where she worked with at risk youth from around the Seattle area, many of whom were recovering addicts, wards of the state and living in foster care. She is currently mentoring a young girl from foster care. A member of the Tlingit tribe, Donna is the fifth child in a family of thirteen and the first to attend and graduate high school. She enjoys snowboarding, surfing, bicycle motor cross, hiking and wind surfing.

Cecilia Gobin, sophomore
Major in American Indian studies
Hometown: Tulalip, WA
Cecilia Gobin is a sophomore at the University of Washington majoring in American Indian Studies. A member of the Tulalip Tribes, she is working toward establishing a career in American Indian law, hoping to one day serve as an attorney for her tribe. Dedicated to the tribe and community she grew up in, Cecilia is passionate about the protection and advance of treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. Committed to the preservation of her tribe’s culture, Cecilia takes an active part in tribal traditions and ceremonies and educates communities, schools, and organizations about Tulalip culture. Cecilia resides on the Tulalip Indian reservation, is a lifetime commercial fisher-woman who enjoys family, community, and cultural events, playing the piano and drum set, wakeboarding, and going to the beach.

Honorable Mentions:
Jamie Stroble, junior
Double major in environmental studies and international studies
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Jamie Stroble is an Honors student pursuing degrees in environmental studies and international studies, with a minor in geography. While growing up in Hawai’i, she developed a strong cultural connection to the environment, as well as keen interest in social and economic justice. Thus, her passion lies within the intersections of her majors in culture, policy and sustainable development, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. She hopes to develop a career in interdisciplinary and international cultural-environmental policymaking by creating a stronger pan-Pacific network for environmental knowledge and innovation. In the summer of 2007, Jamie researched concepts of community, home, neighbor and environment through the resident experiences of Tent City 4, a mobile homeless encampment. In her spare time, Jamie dreams up adventurous travel schemes, one of which resulted in her walking over 530 miles across northern Spain in the summer of 2006. Additionally, she enjoys hiking, outrigger canoe paddling, photography, cooking, dancing hula and Tahitian, discussing politics and working on Habitat for Humanity construction builds as an officer of the UW campus chapter.

Ryan Erickson, junior
Major in earth and space sciences
Hometown: Everett, WA
Ryan Erickson’s academic interests involve reconstructing ancient climates and climatic changes from paleontological data, and using that information to predict how modern ecosystems will respond to current climate change. He is particularly interested in the ecological changes involved in the last North American deglaciation. Prior to transferring to the UW in the fall of 2007, Ryan attended Deep Springs College in California. Ryan is a student in the UW Honors Program.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Awards are for undergraduate sophomores and juniors who have outstanding potential and intend to major in mathematics, engineering, or natural sciences. Approximately 300 students are named Goldwater Scholars from a field of more than 1,000 students. Last year, three [four?] UW students were named Goldwater scholars. The University’s science and research strength supports undergraduate success in this scholarship.


Nate Bottman, junior
Double major in mathematics and applied and computational mathematical sciences
Hometown: Seattle

Nate Bottman is an Honors student and entered the UW through the Robinson Center’s Early Entrance Program. In 2006, he began working with Bernard Deconinck to develop a method for determining the stability spectra of nonlinear waves. Nate and Dr. Deconinck have submitted a paper on the application of this method to the Korteweg-de Vries equation, and a second paper on the nonlinear Schrödinger equation is in preparation.

Nate studied in Russia for four months in fall 2007, through the Math in Moscow program, supported by an AMS scholarship. There he developed both a love for Russia and its language, and, with George Shabat, a geometric generalization of Gauss’ arithmetic-geometric mean. Nate is continuing this work in Seattle with Jim Morrow, supported by a UW VIGRE grant.

In his spare time, Nate enjoys working math problems, watching Russian films, baking bread, and petting his dog. He has received the UW freshman medal, an “Outstanding” designation, with his two teammates, in the 2007 Mathematical Contest in Modeling, and a Davidson fellowship.

Julia Moore, junior
Triple major in computer science, applied and computational math sciences, microbiology
Hometown: Golden, CO

Julia Moore is an Honors student studying applied and computational mathematical sciences (ACMS) and microbiology. She plans to continue her graduate studies in applied math, and hopes to conduct research on infectious disease.

Julia became involved in research her first year of college when she joined Dr. David Koelle’s lab, working to process blood samples for studies involving the herpes simplex virus. In the summer of 2007 she participated in the Amgen Scholars Summer Research Program. Working with Dr. Valerie Daggett’s lab, she studied computer simulations of the three-dimensional structure of prion proteins, proteins that are responsible for diseases such as mad cow disease. Currently Julia is working in Dr. Kristin R. Swanson’s lab, using a mathematical model to describe the growth and spread of gliomas (diffuse brain tumors). Specifically, she is working to refine a model for the delayed effect of radiation therapy on gliomas. Julia has been awarded the VIGRE Undergraduate Research Grant and the Mary Gates Endowment Research Scholarship to support her research endeavors.

Outside of school and research, Julia enjoys spending time sailing on Lake Washington, as well as salsa and blues dancing. Additionally, this summer Julia will be volunteering in Tanzania, Africa with Support for International Change (SIC), helping to teach rural communities about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention.

Kathy Wei, junior
Double major in bioengineering and computer science
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Kathy Wei first became involved in research through NASA Summer Undergraduate Research Program the summer before entering college. Her experience with the Vaezy lab showed her the potential of bioengineering and inspired her to pursue research further. She discovered her current laboratory through the UW Amgen Program. In it, she conducts research on the design of modular nanoparticles as safe, efficient, and effective gene therapy vehicles. This research has potential as a therapy for genetically based disorders, such as cancers; Kathy’s work in the lab is funded by a Mary Gates Research Scholarship for 2007-2008. Also an Honors student, Kathy plans to pursue a graduate degree studying nanotechnology and gene therapy and a career in research.

Kathy has been a member of the UW Fencing Club and UW Kendo Club. She intends to one day attempt hang-gliding, climb Uluru (Ayer’s rock), travel the world at least once, read every good book, and invent a time machine.

Honorable Mention:
Samuel Sudar, senior
Triple major in neurobiology, philosophy, and English
Hometown: Longview, WA
Sam Sudar is an Honors student and spent his first two years at the University of Washington as a classical guitar major. After a tumultuous period of decision-making early in his junior year, he is now pursuing degrees in neurobiology, English, and philosophy. In order to experience life as a research scientist, in his junior year Sam began working in Dr. Helen Sherk’s lab studying the visual system. A year later he enjoys contributing to the lab’s research, and hopes to contribute to papers publishing their results.

Sam grew up on a working tree farm outside the town of Longview, Washington. While his definitive plans for the future remain hazy, he is interested in research aimed at combating neurodegeneration. At the moment he has not ruled out any future career paths. He enjoys writing, birdwatching, rock climbing and reading. He is a Washington Scholar, a Mary Gates Scholar, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. His favorite authors are Hemingway and Coetzee.

Truman Scholarship

The Truman Scholarship Foundation finds and recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the non-profit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service. For 2008, 65 Scholars were selected from among 595 candidates nominated by 283 colleges and universities.


Bryce McKibben, junior
Double major in political science and law, societies and justice
Hometown: Sammamish, WA

Bryce is the President of the Washington Student Lobby, representing students in public higher education in the State of Washington and a UW Honors student. Bryce enjoys working on diverse public policy issues, including higher education and LGBT rights. Bryce hopes to earn a master’s in Public Policy in order to best advocate for those who want to reach their higher education goals or expand civil rights.

Charles B. Rangel Fellowship

Charles Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship is given to outstanding seniors who have an interest in pursuing a career in the Foreign Service with the U. S. Department of State. The Rangel Fellowship awards up to 20 fellowships of $28,000 annually towards tuition, room, board, books and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree. Vi is the first UW student to receive this fellowship.


Vi Nhan, senior
Double major in political science and international studies
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Vi L. Nhan is a University of Washington senior majoring in political science and international studies with a focus on China studies. Originally from China, her family spent the past several generations in Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was 12. She speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and the President of the Jackson School Student Association. With a love for travel, she studied Islamic culture and Arabic in Morocco, grasped the impact of apartheid in South Africa, and through the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship, practiced her Chinese on the streets of Hong Kong and Beijing. Her primary career goals are to work in the field of international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and Chinese political transition and media. She plans to obtain her master’s in international affairs with the help of the Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship and the Charles Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship. After graduate school, she will join the U.S. Foreign Service as a Foreign Service Officer.

Marshall Scholarship

Established by the British Government in 1953 as a national expression of gratitude to the U.S. for aid under the Marshall Plan. Marshall scholarships are tenable at any British university and cover two years of study in any discipline, at either undergraduate or graduate level, leading towards the receipt of a British university degree. Each year, 40 students are selected to be Marshall Scholars. In 2006, Sariah Khormaee received the Marshall Scholarship.


Jeffery Eaton, senior
Triple major in sociology, mathematics, and statistics
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Jeffrey Eaton will graduate in June with a master’s degree in statistics and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and sociology. A bass player in the University of Washington Symphony, he also completed a minor in music. An Honors student, Jeff has also received the 2005 UW Sophomore Medal, a 2006 Goldwater Scholarship, a 2006 College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Award, a Research Fellowship for Advanced Undergraduates, and a Mary Gates Venture Fellowship. Eaton hopes to earn a doctorate in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College in London.


Graham Griffiths, senior
Double major in economics and philosophy
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Graham Griffiths graduated in March 2008 with a double degree in economics and philosophy plus a minor in international studies. A UW Honors student, he plans a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies, and is particularly interested in the influence of liberal political philosophy on Arab intellectuals.