Three University of Chicago undergraduates earn Goldwater Scholarships

Samuel Greene, Jane Huang and James Porter, all third-year students in the College, have won Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships to continue their studies in chemistry, astronomy and biological sciences. Third-year Luke Bertels received an honorable mention in chemistry.

The prize pays for tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 a year, as the winners pursue degrees in the sciences. Each university is allowed to nominate four students per year. “This is the most prestigious, premier undergraduate award for students in the sciences and is a harbinger of great future success,” said Gregory Hillhouse, professor of chemistry. Hillhouse has taught Greene, Huang and Bertels in his chemistry classes.

“These students came from a great pool of scholars. In addition to their strong academic credentials, the quality of research they have done at Chicago sets them apart,” Hillhouse said.

Ilaria Rebay, professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, nominated Porter, who has worked for much of his undergraduate career in Rebay’s Ben May Department lab. Porter now plans to pursue a PhD in molecular genetics, conduct research on developmental genetics, and hopefully train another generation of scientists by teaching at the university level.

Huang has been studying and doing research in Astronomy and Astrophysics with Donald York, the Horace B. Horton Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Her interest in astronomy began in childhood, and has grown through her college-level studies of chemistry and physics. She plans to pursue a PhD in astronomy, with the hope of conducting research in astrochemistry at a national laboratory. Huang is also an accomplished writer for the Chicago Maroon, the UChicago student newspaper.

Greene, who won an honorable mention for the prize last year, says his love for chemistry began in high school in Spring Green, Wis., when a great teacher helped him see that he could combine his interests in the geophysical sciences, pure mathematics and chemistry. Greene is currently working on an environmental research project to track the methane emissions of lakes in Alaska. After UChicago, he plans to pursue a PhD in an environment-related field, in the hopes of conducting research and participating in public outreach about renewable energy technologies and climate change.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation awarded 271 students from the United States this year, who were chosen from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students.

Since 2005, 24 UChicago students have received Goldwater Scholarships and five others have been selected as honorable mentions. UChicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology rank second in Goldwater Scholarships, following Harvard University, which produced 26 scholars in that same period.