UW News

March 30, 2020

Three UW students selected as 2020 Goldwater Scholars

Three undergraduate students at the University of Washington are among 396 around the country who have been named Goldwater Scholars for 2020.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program supports undergraduates who “show exceptional promise of becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The scholarships go toward tuition, room and board, fees and books up to $7,500 annually for one or two years.

The 2020 Goldwater Scholars from the UW are Keyan Gootkin, Parker Ruth and Karen Zhang.

Pictures of three students who received Goldwater Scholarships at the University of Washington.

Gootkin, Ruth and Zhang.University of Washington

  • Gootkin, who is majoring in astronomy and physics, studies how massive stars end their lives and volunteers with the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, the League of Astronomers, and the UW’s campus and mobile planetariums.
  • Ruth is pursuing a double major in bioengineering and computer engineering, and studies computational tools to improve health care access. Ruth plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science.
  • Zhang, who is studying both microbiology and biochemistry, is interested in “the machineries of life at a molecular level and engineering them to perform novel tasks,” and after graduation would like to obtain a doctoral degree in either bioinformatics or synthetic biology.

The 2020 Goldwater Scholars were selected from a pool of more than 5,000 undergraduate students nominated by 461 academic institutions. A majority of this year’s awardees, 287, are studying the natural sciences, while 59 are majoring in engineering and 50 are majoring in mathematics or computer science. Most say that they intend to pursue a doctoral degree.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Barry Goldwater, a five-term senator from Arizona and Air Force Reserve major general. Since 1989, the program has provided 9,047 scholarships totaling more than $71 million dollars.