Four UW-Madison students receive Goldwater Scholarships

April 9, 2014

by Susannah Brooks

Each year, an American university may nominate only four undergraduates for a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences.

So it is a particularly special honor that all four of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s nominees have been selected to receive the scholarship. They are among about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide who will receive the award in 2014. 

“We are excited to recognize each of these students for their accomplishments, and we look forward to seeing the continued progress of their research,” says Julie Stubbs, director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Awards. “These honors represent many hours of dedicated work, but also the fact that they chose to do so within the UW-Madison community. We’re lucky to have such talented students and a campus culture that supports undergraduate research.”

UW-Madison’s 2014 Goldwater Scholars are:

Anna-Lisa Doebley, a junior majoring in genetics from Middleton, Wis. Doebley hopes to receive a doctorate in regenerative medicine in order to conduct research on stem cell therapies and teach college courses at an academic research institution.

Rachel Dvorak, a junior majoring in biochemistry from Rice Lake, Wis. Dvorak hopes to receive a doctorate in neurology, as well as a medical degree, in order to conduct research in neurology. She aims to develop treatments and prevention methods for dementia-related diseases and disorders.

Geoffrey McConohy, a junior majoring in engineering physics from Menomonie, Wis. McConohy hopes to receive a doctorate in materials science in order to pursue an industry career in research and development — ideally, in electrical energy storage devices involving the use of nanotechnology.

Tong Wang, a junior majoring in chemistry, from New Berlin, Wis. Wang hopes to receive a dual doctorate and medical degree in chemical biology in order to conduct research in chemical therapeutics and teach at an academic hospital.

Because the Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to outstanding sophomores and juniors, it is often the precursor to larger awards later on in students’ academic careers. Several of UW-Madison’s Goldwater Scholars have gone on to receive some of the top honors in American higher education.

Earlier this year, 2013 Goldwater Scholar Drew Birrenkott received a Rhodes Scholarship, while fellow scholar Joshua Shutter received a Churchill Scholarship.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 in honor of former U.S. Senator and 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.