Meet UConn’s 2021 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees

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The Goldwater Scholarship awards up to $7,500 to college sophomores and juniors majoring in math, science, engineering, or research psychology (not clinical). Students who are competitive for the award have had significant research experience and have plans for graduate study (aspire to a PhD or MD/PhD) and a career in research.  Students must be nominated by their home institution.  Click here to learn more about the scholarship and about UConn’s campus nomination process.


ONSF is pleased to introduce UConn’s 2021 Goldwater Scholarship nominees.

UConn 2021 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees
UConn’s 2021 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees (l to r) Joshua Yu, Seema Patel, Katherine Lee, and Patrick Corrigan


Patrick Corrigan (CLAS ‘22) from Hartford, CT is an Honors student majoring in chemistry and molecular/cellular biology. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry after finishing his bachelor’s. Patrick has been interested in chemistry since high school, where he completed both general chemistry and organic chemistry. In his first semester at UConn, he began working in Dr. Jessica Rouge’s research group in the biological chemistry department. His work focused on the Nucleic Acid Nanocapsule (NAN) structure that the Rouge group’s work centers on. The first project he began working on involved developing a procedure to ligate gold nanoparticles to the surface of the NANs so that they could be detected in cells using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). He was awarded the Charles E. Waring Scholarship to fund his research through the summer of 2019. Being unable to do in-person research during COVID-19 lockdown, he instead gained proficiency in writing machine learning algorithms. He independently wrote a research project combining the work the Rouge group does with machine learning so that he could continue doing research from home. He is now enrolled in a graduate level computer science courses in machine learning and plans to continue his education in both computer science and biochemistry. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, graphic design, and spending time with friends.


Katherine Lee (CLAS ’22) from Monroe, CT, is an Honors student majoring in structural biology/biophysics. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computational biology in order to conduct research and teach at an academic institution. She has been working in Dr. Eric May’s lab since the summer of 2019 studying the binding affinities and specificities of antibodies to hyperphosphorylated tau protein found in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has studied the allosteric communication networks in these proteins to understand the effect of mutations upon protein dynamics in order to potentially design improved diagnostic antibodies and new therapeutics. She received a SURF grant the summer of 2020 to extend this work through studying the various conformational ensembles a given antibody can assume and using these principles to determine binding energetics. She has been selected as a University Scholar and is investigating novel machine learning methods to predict the biochemical function of antibody variants given structural data. Outside of the lab, Katherine is a math tutor for UConn’s Q Center, a staff columnist for the opinion section of the Daily Campus and has served as an EMT in her hometown. She also enjoys crocheting, singing, and playing the piano.


Seema Patel (CLAS ’22) from North Haven, CT, is a Rowe Scholar majoring in molecular & cell biology and minoring in healthcare management & insurance studies. After graduation, she plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Pharmacology to investigate effective chemotherapeutic strategies for cancer patients. Her research career began in 2017 when she interned in the Chung Lab at the Yale School of Medicine, where she investigated the role of CatSper ion channels on sperm motility and fertility. Seema has been working in the Hadden Lab in the UConn School of Pharmacy since the spring of her freshman year where she investigates the inhibition of a DNA repair mechanism called translesion synthesis (TLS). She has focused on the development and testing of potent anti-cancer drugs that disrupt a specific protein-protein interaction, termed Rev7/Rev3, of the TLS machinery. Using in vitro approaches, Seema has identified three novel TLS Rev7/Rev3 inhibitors and is currently characterizing their inhibitory potential in an ovarian cancer cell model for her University Scholar project. Seema received the 2020 SURF grant for which she wrote a review paper on the development of TLS inhibitors published in the journal Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. Outside of the laboratory, Seema volunteers for Paper Airplanes, a nonprofit that teaches English to conflict-afflicted students in the Middle East. Inspired by the abrupt shift to virtual learning in 2020, Seema co-founded the UConn branch of Learn To Be, a national nonprofit tutoring organization, where she will train UConn students to teach STEM courses to students from underprivileged backgrounds. She is also an editorial assistant for the Elsevier Social Science & Medicine peer-reviewed journal Health Psychology.


Joshua Yu, (CLAS ’23) from Frederick, MD, is an Honors student studying molecular & cell biology. He plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences focusing on the enhancement of nanoscale platforms through radiotherapy for treatment of cancer. His research career began in high school at the National Cancer Institute, where he studied chemokine receptor derived self-assembling peptide nanoparticles for cancer drug delivery. This work was published in Methods in Molecular Biology. Enamored by the prospects of nanomedicine and the complexities of cancer treatment, he pursued research in Dr. Xiuling Lu’s lab in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. Named a Holster Scholar in 2020, his summer research project reviewed the effects of nanoparticle properties on internalization, intracellular distribution, and cytotoxicity to cancerous and healthy cells. He is now working to finalize the literature review for publication. Moving forward, Joshua hopes to conduct studies investigating the correlation between the intracellular distribution of nanoparticle chemotherapeutics and tumor-specific toxicity. Alongside his interest in medicine and research, he is also a passionate tubist who has participated in county and state level bands throughout Maryland.  At UConn, Joshua is a dedicated member of Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program, the Symphonic Band, and the Peer Allies through Honors program.


To learn more about these and other nationally-competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities, visit the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships and click “Talk to an Advisor.”

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