Five Stanford students were awarded 2023 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, one of the most prestigious national undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and mathematics.
Angelina Chan ’24, Benjamin Przybocki ’24, Jenny Shi ’24, Emily Snell ’24 and Xiaomian Yang ’24 are five of the 413 winners who were selected from over 5,000 applicants nationwide. Each Goldwater Scholar annually will receive up to $7,500 per academic year.
“I was back home during spring break when the news was announced,” said Snell, an earth and planetary sciences major. “I was just really happy and really proud that other people, beyond Stanford, really believe in my world and what I’m doing.”
Typically, universities can only nominate up to four students for this scholarship, but a fifth transfer student can be nominated. Chan, a human biology major that transferred to Stanford from University of Illinois, applied to this scholarship with her research on an experimental evolution of budding yeast and plans to pursue an M.D. and a Ph.D. in genetics.
“I think research is really cool and it was great validation that I chose the right career,” Chan said. “I think the process of being able to write down my research and really think about, like, what are the implications beyond just the lab was the most valuable in this process.”
The scholarship is awarded based on merit to undergraduate students who intend to pursue research careers. During the application process, applicants describe their research in detail, as well as their future goals.
“I am really excited that there are professionals and experts out there who believed my research is cool and were willing to award me with such a prestigious scholarship,” said Yang, a material science and engineering major who is conducting research on solid-state batteries. “I’m really looking forward to continuing my research.”
The other Stanford Goldwater Scholars are Shi, a chemistry major, who plans to research how molecular changes in the brain affect learning and memory, as well as Przybocki, a math major, who wants to research automated reasoning, an area of computer science that studies how to use computers to solve logical problems.
“I’m honored to be selected,” Przybocki said. “It’s definitely encouraging that I’ve really found the right path for me doing research in these fields. It will support my continued research at the intersection of math and computer science.”
Snell, a first-generation college student, has been conducting petrology research in developing accessible and affordable pressure calculation of volcanoes.
“I’m trying to do something brand new and essentially invent a new technique,” said Snell, who has been conducting research for almost four years now. “I’ve had a bit of imposter syndrome, like ‘there’s no way I could be a Goldwater Scholar, I don’t have 12 publications.’ Being a Goldwater Scholar means a lot in the sense that great scientists can come from anywhere in the country.”
The Goldwater Scholarship allows undergraduate students to be recognized for their research and continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of science.
“Research is really tough because this is something that no one knows the answer to,” Yang said. “When your experiments don’t go the way that you expect it to, it’s kind of frustrating. I think this scholarship provides that emotional booster so I can keep on going despite all the challenges I face.”