Meet UConn’s 2023 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees

Goldwater Banner

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, and schools are generally allowed to nominate up to four candidates.  Click here to learn more about the scholarship and about UConn’s campus nomination process.

UConn’s 2023 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees: Lisa Liang, Romir Raj, Lyla White, and Neo Lin

UConn’s 2023 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees


Lisa Liang (CLAS ’25), from Madison, CT, is a Stamps Scholar majoring in chemistry. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry to conduct research in nucleic acid and drug delivery through nanoparticles while teaching at an academic institution. Lisa’s interest in research was piqued in high school, where she participated in materials science research and witnessed first-hand the impact of scientific investigation on her daily life while visiting a pharmaceutical company’s lab with a club. During the first semester of her freshman year, Lisa joined Prof. Jessica Rouge’s research group studying the delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids through nucleic acid nanocapsules (NANs). In the summer of 2022, she participated in the Holster Scholar Program to investigate how to combat hereditary diseases via nanocarrier targeted delivery of therapeutic DNA. Lisa’s current projects expand on this work by focusing on developing nanocapsule structure for optimal delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids to the cytosol and beyond. Outside of the lab, Lisa is passionate about serving her peers as the Vice President of UConn Honors Council and loves volunteering with the Windham Heights Afterschool Tutoring Program. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, running, and hanging out with her friends and family.


Neo Lin (CLAS ’25) from Madison, CT, is a sophomore Honors student studying chemistry. He plans on obtaining a Ph.D. in chemistry following graduation. He has been working in Mani Laboratory of the Department of Chemistry since the fall of his freshman year on optically addressable molecular qubits based on organic radical pairs (RPs). The goal of his research project to realize emissive RPs of long enough lifetimes for molecular qubits, using donor-bridge-acceptor (D-B-A) molecular motifs. His first project explored the RP lifetimes and charge transfer emission in D-B-A molecules with “kinked” conjugated bridges. The kink design combined with varied bridge length attempted to decrease electronic couplings to lengthen RP lifetimes and realize significant charge transfer emission. After being awarded the Dr. Charles Waring Scholarship during the summer of 2022, he pursued a second project studying the implementation of a durene bridge and its effects on RP lifetimes. His findings from this project are now being finalized and will soon be submitted for publication. Building off the information gathered from his first two projects, Neo is now pursuing unique D-B-A molecular motifs to achieve the goal. Outside of research, Neo is passionate in traveling and enjoys spending time with friends and family.


Romir Raj (ENGR ’24) from Glastonbury, CT, is an Honors student majoring in biomedical engineering. He plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in genetics and genomics after completion of his bachelor’s degree to be a practicing physician who performs clinical research. Romir first joined Dr. Mayu Inaba’s Lab at UConn Health, Farmington, which studies chromosomal homolog pairing. To expand upon his research, Romir also joined Dr. Jelena Erceg’s Lab at UConn, Storrs, to investigate homolog pairing in developing Drosophila embryos. In the summer of 2022, Romir received the SURF grant and conducted research in both the Inaba and Erceg Labs, where he further studied and built upon his past research on interchromosomal interactions (mainly homolog pairing). This research experience resulted in two journal publications, in Nature Communications and Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. In his final three semesters, Romir plans to study more about genomic architecture and the possible functional implications of this architecture. Outside of academics, Romir volunteers at Saint Francis Hospital and is a founder of a non-profit organization chapter on campus. He enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends, and running outside.


Lyla White, (CLAS ’24) is a STEM Scholar from Newington, CT, majoring in pharmacy studies and minoring in biological sciences. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences to teach at a school of pharmacy and continue investigating the safety of drug therapies and developing safer dosage forms. Lyla became interested in research in 2019 when she performed a systematic review evaluating the validity of claims about CBD topical products. As a Holster Scholar in 2021, Lyla designed and 3D printed personalized drug tablets to simplify the complex drug regimen of diabetes patients. The same year, she published a review to explore FDA oversight of foreign clinical trials. Still committed to improving patient safety, Lyla now studies the effect of different temperatures and humidities on the safety of commercial drug tablets under common, real-world conditions. She hopes to eventually design her own drug tablets to be safer under these conditions. Outside of the lab, Lyla is the vice president of the UConn Climbing Team, the education coordinator for the Honors in STEM student organization, a mentor for Peer Allies Through Honors, and a student liaison for the school of pharmacy curriculum committee. Lyla is also a purple enthusiast!


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.”


Senior Sarah Marze (SFA ’23) is a 2023 Marshall Scholar


University of Connecticut undergraduate Sarah Marze ’23 (SFA) has been named a 2023 Marshall Scholar. Marze, who becomes UConn’s sixth Marshall Scholar, is just one of 40 students nationally to earn the prestigious honor this year, and will have the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom as part of the program.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . . 


Senior Nidhi Nair (CLAS ’23) is UConn’s First Schwarzman Scholar

University of Connecticut senior Nidhi Nair (CLAS ’23), an Honors student majoring in economics and math-statistics, is UConn’s first Schwarzman Scholar.  She will spend the 2023-24 academic year at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she will pursue a Master’s degree.  The Schwarzman class of 2024 includes 151 Scholars from 36 countries and 121 universities around the world.

Click here to read more in UConn Today . . . .


UConn Produces An All-Time High 17 Gilman Scholars

Photo of UConn Students
From left, UConn’s Gilman Scholars Samantha Valle ’24 (CLAS), Marissa White ’25 (CAHNR), Geraldine Uribe ’23 (CLAS), Guerlina Philogne ’24 (CLAS) (BUS), Rose Pacik-Nelson ’23 (CLAS), and Grace Coburn ’23 (CLAS). May 21, 2022. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

UConn has produced  17 Gilman Scholars for the March 2022 application cycle, an all-time high for the University.

The Gilman Scholarship is congressionally funded through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the State Department. The funding supports broadening student participation in study abroad programs and encourages travel to diverse locations around the globe, along with intensive language study and internship experiences.

“We are thrilled to see our campus outreach efforts and student advising for the Gilman scholarship result in this level of success,” says Valerie Jenkelunas, Experiential Global Learning (EGL) advisor and community liaison specialist. “We had a total of 21 students apply from UConn, and 17 were chosen for awards between $3,000 and $5,000. This surpasses the statistical average of applicants awarded nationally.”


Continue reading on UConn Today . . . .


Rising Junior Samantha Gove Named 2022 Udall Scholar

Photo of Udall Scholar Samantha Gove
2023 Udall Scholar Samantha Gove (CLAS ’23) stands outside The Dodd Center for Human Rights on May 5, 2022. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


University of Connecticut rising junior Samantha Gove ’24 (CLAS), a sociology and human rights major who has a minor in psychological sciences, has been selected as a 2022 Udall Scholar. The honor is awarded on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment; Tribal public policy or Native health care; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement.

A native of Granby, Gove is the ninth Udall Scholar in UConn history, and the third in the past four years.

She is just one of 55 students nationally to earn the distinction in 2022, from a pool of 382 nominations. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar. Udall scholars will also gather this summer in Arizona for a series of discussions and meetings.


Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

Graduate Student Sarah Luria Receives 2022 P.E.O. Scholar Award

2022 P.E.O. Scholar Sarah R. Luria is a Ph.D. candidate in Neag School of Education’s Educational Psychology program.


Sarah R. Luria, a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology, has been selected as one of 100 recipients of the $20,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood.

This award was established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Women are chosen based on their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women.


Continue reading on UConn Today . . . .

Five Named To Fulbright US Student Program

The program provides grants for individually-designed study and research projects or for English teaching assistantships around the world


Five UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2022-23 academic year. The program provides grants for individually designed study and research projects or for English teaching assistantships around the world. Students meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.

UConn had 12 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the five finalists and one alternate. A total of 20 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2022-23 Fulbright round.


Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

Gilman-McCain Scholarship Recipient Is a First for UConn

Zoey England is one of just 100 students in the country to earn the scholarship this year

Zoey England, a Gilman-McCain scholar, pets Jonathan XIV on May 3, 2022.

Zoey England ’22, UConn’s first Gilman-McCain scholar, pets Jonathan XIV on May 3, 2022. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


Zoey England ’22 (CLAS) has been named a winner of a Gilman-McCain Scholarship, the first in University history.

The scholarship program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, provides awards of $5,000 for undergraduate child dependents of active duty service members to study or serve an internship abroad. It was developed under the framework of the State Department’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and named after the late Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

UConn Students Earn NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipients
From left to right: Urvi Kaul, Tony Edgington, Raul Flamenco, Swapna Subramanian. Not pictured: Elyse Schriber (UConn Photo)

Five UConn graduate students and an alumnus have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF-GRFP).

The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the NSF-GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding students in NSF-supported disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited institutions in the United States. In addition to a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, plus another $12,000 paid to the student’s home institution, fellows have access to a wide range of professional development opportunities over the course of their graduate careers.

The Graduate Research Fellowships are highly competitive, with annual acceptance rates of about 16% from among more than 12,000 applicants.

Read more in UConn Today . . .

Junior Irene Soteriou Named 2022 Truman Scholar

Junior Irene Soteriou ’23 (CLAS) has been named a Truman Scholar, marking the tenth time since 1986 that a UConn student has won the prestigious honor

Irene Soteriou, a Truman Scholar, at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room
Irene Soteriou, Truman Scholar, at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room on April 13, 2022. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


Soteriou represents UConn in a highly select group of 58 new Truman Scholars from around the country. She was picked from 705 candidates nominated by 275 different schools.


Read more in UConn Today . . . .