For the third year in a row, four UNT students were named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, with UNT having more scholars than any other Texas college or university.
The UNT students — Yieu Chyan, Amelia Lin, Monica Lu and Wenqui "Jack" Wang — are among 317 students in the nation chosen for the scholarships, which are considered to be among the country's most prestigious scholarships awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering.
All college sophomores and juniors are eligible to compete for the scholarships, which provide a maximum of $7,500 each year for one or two years to cover tuition, fees, books and room and board. Universities may nominate up to four students for the award. Students are chosen on the basis of their scientific research, grade-point average and other achievements.
UNT is one of seven universities in the nation, and the only university from Texas, to have the maximum number of four Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. UNT also has more scholars this year than the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities.
Chyan, Lin, Lu and Wang are all students in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a two-year residential program that allows talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while earning their high school diplomas. Students enroll in the academy following their sophomore year in high school, live in a UNT residence hall and attend UNT classes with college students.
Having four scholars "is a stunning accomplishment for UNT and for the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science," says James Duban, director of the Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships and chair of the university's Barry M. Goldwater Faculty Nominating and Mentoring Committee. "These Goldwater Scholars have been recognized and rewarded for being at the cutting edge of research-based undergraduate education. They will doubtless become leaders in their fields of study and research."
Richard Sinclair, TAMS dean, says the TAMS staff continues "to be impressed with the ability of academy students to match, or exceed, the research performance of undergraduates at top colleges in the nation."
"The combination of outstanding students, devoted mentors and thorough assistance from the Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships is hard to beat," Sinclair says.
UNT has had 36 Goldwater Scholars since 1996. Other Texas universities with Goldwater Scholars this year include Rice University (2), Texas Tech University (2), Texas A&M University (1) and the University of Texas at Austin (1).
Chyan received the Goldwater scholarship for his research on the conditions for the formation of thin films for use in organic photoelectric devices, which directly convert absorbed photons into electrical power. He investigated methods to improve the films and their efficiencies in order to design devices based on organic materials, which are potentially more cost effective than silicon-based materials.
The son of Oliver Chyan, UNT professor of chemistry, Chyan conducted his research in the laboratory of a family friend, Rigoberto Advincula, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Houston. He worked at Advincula's laboratory the past two summers and continued the research in his father's laboratory at UNT during the fall and spring semesters, corresponding with Advincula by e-mail and phone.
Chyan was previously recognized for his research when he was named a finalist in the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search and a regional finalist in the 2006 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Lin was named a Goldwater Scholar for her research on the properties of carbon nanotubes, or hollow cylinders of carbon atoms that are only a few nanometers — one billionths of meters — in diameter and may be used in the future for drug delivery into individual human cells, targeted cancer treatment and other applications in the human body. She conducted the research in the laboratory of Zhibing Hu, UNT physics professor.
Lin was previously honored for her research when she was named a regional finalist in the 2006 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology and a semifinalist in the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search.
Her research project also received the grand prize at the Fort Worth Regional Science Fair in March, which qualified her not only for Texas' state science fair but also for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2007, which will include projects from students representing all 50 states and 47 countries, territories and regions. The international fair will be in May in Albuquerque, N.M.
Lu received the scholarship for her research on what happens in the brain during antisaccade, or suppression of automatic eye movement responses, and research on the function of neuronal cilia. She conducted the antisaccade research last summer at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Research Science Institute and is conducting the neuronal cilia research in the laboratory of Jannon Fuchs, UNT professor of biological sciences.
Lu was recognized for her antisaccade research when she as named a semifinalist in both the 2006 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology and the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search. She also placed first in her category at the Fort Worth Regional Science Fair, qualifying for the state science fair.
Wang was named a Goldwater Scholar for research he conducted in the laboratory of Pamela Padilla, assistant professor of biological sciences. He helped to determine why oxygen-deprived cancer cells survive chemotherapy better than normal cancer cells.
Serving on the UNT Faculty Goldwater Nominating and Mentoring Committee were Elizabeth Bator, associate professor of mathematics; Duban; Fuchs; Shushama Dandekar, lecturer of chemistry and Samuel Matteson, professor of physics.
UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509