We're reposting this article with the kind permission of News from Brown.
by Maggie Spear, Communications Manager and Writer for Student Life, Office of University Communications
In recognition of their own academic achievements and Brown University’s commitment to developing exceptional scholars, four undergraduate students have earned national Goldwater Scholarships for their contributions as rising science researchers.
Lucas Brito, Jordan Feldman, Tyler Lane and William Lin — all members of the Class of 2024 — were each awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which supports outstanding students in developing research careers in mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.
This year, the program awarded scholarships to 413 second- and third-year students, selected from a pool of 1,267 nominees representing 427 academic institutions from across the country. Each institution is permitted to nominate up to four students per year, and 2023 marks the first time in 20 years that all four nominees put forth by Brown secured the scholarship.
The awardees' unique achievements and potential as research scientists highlight the flexibility of Brown's Open Curriculum, said Linda Dunleavy, associate dean of the College for fellowships.
"Some of our scholars have developed a strong understanding of multiple STEM fields and the potential of their integration, while others have delved deeply into their specific field of interest through graduate-level classes and advanced research opportunities," Dunleavy said. "It is also gratifying to see that several of our Goldwater scholars have consistently supported their peers and younger students through their leadership and mentorship activities."
Winners are awarded up to $7,500 per full academic year to help cover costs of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board. Goldwater Scholars, of which there have been over 10,000 since the program was founded in 1989, pursue Ph.D. programs at top research institutions and have an established record of earning further prestigious postgraduate fellowships, like Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.
The four Goldwater Scholars offered insights on their research and favorite Brown pastimes, their goals after graduation and how the awards will help enable them to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Concentration: Mathematical physics and computer science
Hometown: Fortaleza, Brazil
Brito was drawn to Brown by the vast undergraduate research opportunities, collaborative student culture, close relationship between science and the arts, and innovative multidisciplinary faculty like Professor of Physics Stephon Alexander. Brito joined Professor of Physics Vesna Mitrović’s lab in 2021, where he began research in condensed matter physics. He is interested in the intersection of quantum statistical mechanics, quantum field theory and quantum information theory, and hopes to continue work that leverages computational methods to treat and provide intuition for previously intractable problems.
“Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship has been a blessing for my family and me,” Brito said. “It provides a financial incentive to continue pursuing the questions I have been drawn to and reaffirms that the nation maintains a commitment to the pursuit of scientific knowledge by assisting young scientists in their early careers.”
Concentration: Applied mathematics - biology
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Feldman works in the lab of Wilson Truccolo, an associate professor of computational neuroscience, using computational models of epileptic seizures to develop patient-specific treatments for epilepsy. He also volunteers at a local hospice and with the Brown Brain Bee, teaching neuroscience lessons at local high schools. After graduating from Brown, Feldman plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in computational neuroscience to explore new treatments for brain disease.
“Hearing that I got the scholarship was really impactful for me, because it made me feel that I was on the right track,” Feldman said. “It was incredible to see that the broader scientific community believed that my work was important and could make a difference. I was also really grateful to all the mentors that have invested so much time in teaching me, answering my billion questions and helping me grow as a scientist. I owe much of this accomplishment to their dedication to mentoring me even as I’m still learning.”
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
Lane said his life at Brown and beyond almost exclusively revolves around pure math. When he isn’t at seminars and symposiums, attending semester workshops at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, or simply discussing math with his friends, he likes to play guitar and yo-yo. After graduation, Lane hopes to deepen his interests and research by pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics.
“I couldn’t believe I got the scholarship,” Lane said. “It was a great honor. It felt really good to see hard work acknowledged and to see that there are people who believe in me. I hope that this award will help open up new doors for me in the future.”
Concentration: Biochemistry and molecular biology
Hometown: Plainsboro, New Jersey
In addition to his own research, Lin is deeply committed to helping other Brown students pursue research, whether it’s through the Brown Research Club, the Brown Healthcare Investments Group, the Meiklejohn Peer Advisor Program or working as a teaching assistant for the course Inquiry in Biochemistry. He volunteers as a medical assistant at Clínica Esperanza in Providence and as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Lin is currently applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs to further study synthetic biology, bioengineering and biological programming, and is strongly considering applying to fellowships based in the United Kingdom to pursue a masters degree in computational biology.
“It is surreal to think that someone like me actually won an award like the Goldwater Scholarship,” Lin said. “I grew up in an immigrant, single-mother household and attended local public schools throughout my K-12 education. I was rejected from Brown when I first applied in high school and was later admitted as a transfer student ... I met many amazing mentors and professors at Brown who took time out of their busy lives to help me with my schoolwork, professional development and Goldwater application. But most importantly, my mom sacrificed a tremendous amount and worked endlessly to raise me and provide me with a good education. Winning the Goldwater Scholarship is the culmination of everyone’s support and belief in me, which I am incredibly grateful for.”