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Four Undergraduates Receive National Goldwater Scholarships

Awards support STEM student in furthering careers

Four Duke University undergraduates have received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a federally endowed award that supports students in pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Ayush Jain, Juliet Jiang, Michelle Si and Marie-Hélène Tomé are among the 508 students nationwide awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2024-2025 academic year. 

The Goldwater Scholars were chosen based on academic merit from a pool of 1,353 natural science, engineering and mathematics students nominated by the institutional representatives of 446 colleges and universities nationwide. Most Goldwater Scholars plan to pursue a Ph.D. in their field of interest.

Each Goldwater Scholar annually receives an amount equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books and room and board minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7,500 per full academic year.
 

“Congratulations to these impressive Duke students on being named Goldwater Scholars,” said Duke Provost Alec D. Gallimore. “Because of Duke’s strong commitment to faculty mentorship of undergraduate research, they are already contributing to their academic disciplines through publications and presentations. We are incredibly proud of their achievements and wish them well in their fields, where they will undoubtedly continue to contribute to advancements in the world’s knowledge.”

Jain is a sophomore computer science and chemistry double major from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Under mentors professors Samuel Berchuck and David Page in biostatistics and bioinformatics, and professor Jian Pei in computer science, Jain designs machine-learning-based approaches to solve clinical medicine problems such as finding optimal drug doses, suggesting successful drug repurposing hypotheses, and to emulate clinical trials with causal inference.

While working with Dr. Anthony Philippakis and Marie-Laure Charpignon at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, he proposed a novel hypergraph learning method for generating hypotheses for drug repurposing. Jain ultimately plans to use AI to design novel therapeutics for the world’s most pressing diseases. He will pursue a graduate degree at the intersection of medicine, computer science and systems pharmacology. Jain is the first author on two publications and has been invited to speak on his work at international conferences in his field.

From Winchester, Massachusetts, Jiang is a junior mathematics and biomedical engineering double major. Under the mentorship of professor of radiology Jeffrey Petrella and Penn State professor of mathematics Wenrui Hao, she studies a computational causal model that describes biomarker accumulation in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, contributing to the rise of personalized medicine.

Jiang also conducts research with professor Amanda Randles in computational fluid dynamics, investigating the role of boundary conditions in the accuracy of computationally derived hemodynamic metrics. She is also exploring the application of autoregressive hidden Markov models in understanding behavioral patterns of Parkinson’s patients with professor Timothy Dunn.

Jiang’s research has produced four first and second author publications and presentations in fields that span mathematics and engineering. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering or computational neuroscience, studying neurodegenerative diseases and mathematical modeling.

Si is a junior mathematics major who plans to pursue a career in algorithmic game theory and computational economics. As an A.B. Duke Scholar from San Jose, California, she has participated in a rigorous internship through Microsoft Research New England in the Econ-CS group and works closely with professor Jian Pei of the Department of Computer Science at Duke. 

With professor Pei, Si conducts research regarding a counterfactual explanation of the Shapley value (a concept in cooperative game theory) in data marketplaces and is working towards a first author publication. This semester, she is studying abroad in Budapest, learning graph theory and counting and arranging in mathematics to further expand her theoretical skillset as well as conducting research on unit distance graphs with the Renyi Institute. After earning a Ph.D. in computer science, Si plans to pursue a career in researching data and information markets.

Originally from Ardsley, New York, Tomé is a junior mathematics major and computer science and linguistics minor. She has participated in professor Ken Ono’s REU at the University of Virginia on number theory, which ignited her passion for the subfield. This led to a single author paper on finite formulas for the class number effectively answering a conjecture of the German mathematician Erich Hecke that had remained open since 1920.

This work was presented at the 2024 Joint Mathematics Meetings and will soon appear in a well-known journal in the field of number theory.

At Duke, under the mentorship of professor Lillian Pierce, Tomé has completed an independent study leading to an expository paper on the proof of an important bound in analytic number theory. Under the guidance of professor Samit Dasgupta, she will continue her research in algebraic number theory. Tomé plans to earn a Ph.D. in pure mathematics, teach at the university level to share her passion for mathematics with others, and conduct research in algebraic and analytic number theory.

Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has awarded 10,720 scholarships worth over $70 million. Ninety-seven Duke students have won Goldwater scholarships since 1990. 

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the Goldwater Scholarship from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of University Scholars and Fellows.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship and other awards, visit the Office of University Scholars and Fellows website.