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Goldwater awarded to four undergraduates

By PAIGE FRANK | November 10, 2016

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is national award designed to recognize students with exceptional promise in research in a STEM field. Every undergraduate university in the United States may nominate four undergraduates.

Of the four students nominated by the University for the 2016 year, all four received recognition as well as a $7,500 scholarship that can be applied to academic tuition, fees, books and room and board.

The Goldwater scholarship was established in 1986 to honor senator Barry Goldwater. The award is believed to provide a competitive edge to students pursuing graduate fellowships in their field.

It awards students by recognizing those with particularly outstanding accomplishments in research. For the 2016 year, approximately 252 awards were given to students chosen from an applicant pool of 1,150.

The four Hopkins students recognized were Vikas Daggubati, Nicole Mihelson, Felipe d’Andrea and Miguel Sobral.

Daggubati is currently a senior at Hopkins majoring in biophysics. He works in Andrew Holland’s lab, a lab he first entered as a freshman.

“I knew I planned to apply for the award when I came in freshman year,” Daggubati said.

The research that helped him win him the Goldwater award focused on identifying the pathway from cellular mutations in cell’s centrosome count to cell death. Beyond graduation Daggubati plans to pursue a M.D./Ph.D.

Nicole Mihelson was the second Hopkins award winner. She is a neuroscience major who also plans to pursue a M.D./Ph.D. in cancer biology. The research that helped win her the Goldwater award focused on glioblastoma multiforme in the Laterra Neuro-Oncology Lab at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Mihelson plans to use the money from the award for tuition and textbooks.

“I am incredibly grateful to my mentors, Dr. Laterra and Dr. Lopez-Bertoni, for guiding me through the application process, training me, and above all — giving me an example of the physician-scientist I one day hope to become,” Mihelson said.

Senior biomedical engineering major Miguel Sobral conducts research on nano-immunotherapies for glioblastoma. His plans after graduation are to continue work in the field of immunotherapy as he pursues his Ph.D.

Senior Felipe d’Andrea, a chemistry major, received an honorable mention from the Goldwater scholarship. Felipe’s work in Professor Craig Townsend’s lab focuses on novel antibiotic discovery. He will continue to pursue this as he pursues his Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Becoming a Goldwater scholar not only means receiving a monetary scholarship, but also means honor and recognition for hard work and an outstanding contribution to research.

To be eligible to apply, students must be sophomores or juniors who are planning to pursue a Ph.D. or a career in research. All must first pass a preliminary round — only the four most promising applicants are chosen by the campus committee and nominated by the university into the national competition.

Applicants must also have significant lab research experience, a 3.7 GPA or above and three letters of recommendation. Once the nominees are chosen, the committee will then offer advice and support for the students’ final proposals.

For those interested in applying for the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship, the deadline for the pre-application form is Dec. 1, 2016. More information on the scholarship, eligibility requirements and deadlines can be found  online at

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