June 16, 2014
LSA and the College of Engineering have announced the winners in three major national scholarship competitions.
Aaron Priluck, a junior in chemical engineering, and Joseph Richey, a sophomore in mathematics, won Goldwater Scholarships.
Priluck and Nirbhay Jain, a junior in chemistry, won 2014 Astronaut Scholarships.
Stephanie Leitzel, a junior in history, has won a Beinecke Scholarship, U-M’s first since 2006.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program has provided scholarships since 1986 to “highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.”
The Goldwater is widely considered the most prestigious scholarship in science, technology, engineering and math that an undergraduate can win, and is a bellwether of future success in the field. This year's Goldwater Scholars are U-M's 62nd and 63rd, tying the university with Cornell for eighth among institutional recipients.
Richey worked with Benjamin Linowitz, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Mathematics, on a research project in the summer of 2013 that was sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates.
Along with fellow undergraduate Noah Shutty, Richey helped to prove a theorem that is a strong generalization of previously known results concerning a distinguished class of modular forms known as eigenforms. Richey and Shutty submitted the resulting paper to the Journal of Number Theory. After graduation, Richey plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in mathematics and computer science.
Created in 1984 to honor the Mercury 7 astronauts, the Astronaut Scholarship is to promote future U.S. scientists in all STEM fields. The scholarship offers $10,000 and an invitation to network with other scholarship winners at an induction ceremony at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Recent Astronaut Scholars from U-M have gone on to win the Churchill and Marshall scholarships for study at Cambridge University.
Priluck works in the lab of Greg Thurber, assistant professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, applying chemical engineering principles to model and predict drug distribution and to produce imaging agents for medicinal use.
David C. Munson, Jr., the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, wrote of Priluck: "Aaron is one of the very top undergraduates in the College of Engineering. We're tremendously proud of his remarkable dual accomplishment. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes Aaron's outstanding research talent and potential. Appropriately, his Astronaut Scholarship will be presented at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which includes five U-M graduates as members."
Jain has worked since 2011 in the lab of Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, Robert W. Parry Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics, analyzing the effects of small metabolic molecules on prostate cancer, and the possibility of using this as a diagnostic tool. His work has revealed insights into the metabolomics details regarding the pathology of prostate cancer.
Jain also received an honorable mention for the 2014 Goldwater Scholarship and is applying to medical and doctoral programs.
Susan Gelman, interim dean of LSA, said of Jain and Richey: "I am thrilled that these students have been awarded the Goldwater and Astronaut scholarships. Each is a phenomenal achievement and speaks to the strength of faculty mentoring in our undergraduate math and science programs."
The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of the Sperry & Hutchinson Co. to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, enabling motivated students to pursue graduate opportunities in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
The scholarship provides $34,000 in financial aid toward graduate degrees in these fields. Leitzel intends to write her honors thesis, incorporating minors in German, and medieval and early modern studies, under the direction of Hussein Fancy, assistant professor of history, and Paolo Squatriti, professor of history and romance languages and literatures, on Celtic and other emerging ethnic and national identities at the end of the Roman Empire.
She is currently applying for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships to support graduate work on Celtic studies in the United Kingdom.
“This opportunity, like countless others I've been provided at Michigan, would be impossible without the benevolence of my scholarship donors, without the help of the Honors Program, and without the invaluable encouragement from my mentors and the medievalists here at U-M," she wrote.