Undergraduate Academic Affairs

May 11, 2012

UW undergraduates earn Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation selected two University of Washington undergraduates as Goldwater Scholars and two to receive honorable mention. Scholarships are awarded to college sophomores and juniors entering the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. This year’s University of Washington Goldwater Scholars are Michael Bocek and Raymond Zhang and the students receiving honorable mention are Evan August Boyle and Derek Tang Nhan.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The University of Washington’s science and research strength helps undergraduates be more competitive for this scholarship. One hundred seventy-four of the scholars are men, 108 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty scholars are mathematics majors, 194 are science and related majors, 58 are majoring in engineering, and 10 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, 33 UW undergraduates have been named Goldwater Scholars.

Michael Bocek, Goldwater ScholarMichael Bocek Photo
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Additional Honors/Awards: Hyp Dauben Award for the top student in honors organic chemistry, Amgen Scholar

A Seattle native, Michael Bocek is a junior at the UW studying biochemistry. He is researching in Suzie Pun’s group in the department of bioengineering, designing and evaluating polymer-based vectors to deliver therapeutic genes to neurons. After graduation he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering, focusing on engineering biomaterials. Then he hopes to continue to a scientific research career, either in academia or industry. In his spare time, Michael enjoys reading, playing chamber music as an oboist, cooking, baking, hiking, and skiing. He says he is currently trying, “with little success,” to learn to play the piano.

Raymond Zhang, Goldwater ScholarRaymond Zhang Photo
Majors: Computer engineering, biology
Hometown: Edmonds, WA
Additional Honors/Awards: Mary Gates Research Scholar, Honors student, Kildall Endowed Scholarship awardee,

Raymond Zhang came to the UW at age 12 through the Robinson Center for Young Scholars’ early entrance program. He is now a senior pursuing dual degrees in computer engineering and biology. Since his sophomore year, Raymond has participated in the computational biology group led by Ram Samudrala, associate professor in the department of microbiology. Under Professor Samudrala’s guidance, Raymond is developing a program to predict the structure of how a protein and nucleic acid strand interact. Raymond says he “wanted to come to the UW because of its excellent departments of computer science and engineering and biology,” and that “discovering that the UW had active computational biology research groups was a pleasant surprise.” After graduation, Raymond plans on earning an M.D. and Ph. D. and becoming a physician scientist. He would like to lead a research lab that tries to apply computer methods and technology to discover new solutions to complex medical and biology problems.

Evan Boyle, Honorable MentionEvan Boyle Photo
Majors: Microbiology, biochemistry
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Additional Honors/Awards: Robert C. Byrd Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society invitee

Evan Boyle is a junior who has worked in the Gelb lab for the past year and a half, where he has helped characterize cytosolic and secreted phospholipases, a class of enzymes implicated in asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Evan plans to pursue a Ph.D. and hopes “to make a real difference in medical outcomes for patients worldwide and to enhance the impact that biomedical research has on ordinary people’s lives.”

Derek Nhan, Honorable MentionDerek Nhan Photo
Majors: Biochemistry and neurobiology
Hometown: Shoreline, WA
Additional Honors/Awards: Mary Gates Research Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Internship/Scholarship

Derek Nhan is a junior currently researching in Dr. Kyra Becker’s neurology lab focused on understanding the molecular and behavioral basis behind the systemic immune response to stroke. His project involves monitoring the consequences of post-stroke infection in an animal model and its impact on neurological outcome. Derek plans to pursue a career in medical research and is interested in the development of targeted approaches for diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. He enjoys playing a variety of intramural sports in his spare time.

About the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards
The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards helps UW undergraduates develop the tools and personal insights necessary to match their goals with local and national merit-based scholarship opportunities. National scholarship opportunities include the Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, Rhodes, Truman scholarships and many others. The office is part of the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity in Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

About the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program
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.