UM students triumph in national STEM scholarship competitions
University of Michigan students continue to shine in national scholarship and scholarship competitions, and this academic year has been particularly impressive for undergraduates who plan to pursue research careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Record number of Goldwater recipients
UM has had at least one student win the Goldwater Scholarship every year since 1991, and in recent years up to four students have won in a single awards cycle. In 2022, UM had five Goldwater Fellows: Nick Cemalovic (pharmacy), Faye Jackson (mathematics), Daniel Liu (chemistry and computer science), Jonah Nan (mathematics), and Anna Simpson (physics, astronomy, and astrophysics).
The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 and is considered the premier national award for undergraduate students who plan to pursue a career in STEM research. UM was one of only two universities to have five Goldwater Scholars this year.
The 2022 Scholars helped move UM to sixth place among all-time Goldwater Scholars. Since 2014, UM has had more Goldwater Scholars than any university other than Stanford.
Churchill funds a year at Cambridge
Karthik Ravi, a specialist in biology, health and society, was a Goldwater scholar in 2021. Today, he is just one of 15 American students to have won a Churchill scholarship.
He will pursue a Master of Philosophy by Research in Medical Sciences at Cambridge before returning to the United States for medical school.
“My specific project will be to explore the feasibility of using urine and plasma as a reservoir of tumor DNA from high-grade brain tumors,” he said.
The Churchill Scholarship funds one year of research or postgraduate study in STEM at the University of Cambridge. This is UM’s second consecutive year with a Churchill Scholar.
A math graduate and 2021 Goldwater Scholar, Jack Haviland was an alternate for the Churchill Fellowship.
UM’s last astronaut researcher
Anna Simpson, senior in physics and astronomy, won the astronaut scholarship. Simpson has been working with David Gerdes, Arthur F, Professor Thurnau and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, on research related to trans-Neptunian objects since 2019. She plans to pursue a PhD. in astronomy and planetary sciences with a research focus on the solar system or exoplanets.
Established in 1984 for the six surviving astronauts of Mercury 7, the Astronaut Scholarship awards up to $15,000 to the winning student, plus a trip to Washington, D.C., for the Innovators’ Gala and an opportunity to present their research.
Winners are also members of the Astronaut Scholar Honor Society, where they can benefit from the mentorship of fellow academics, research industry professionals, and NASA astronauts.
UM Stem Research Career Fellowship
Jose Luiz Vargas de Mendonca, an aerospace engineering junior, won the UM Stem Research Career Award. He plans to pursue a doctorate. in aerospace engineering and play a leading role in international space cooperation.
UM STEM RCA supports sophomores and accomplished juniors who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or MD-Ph.D. and research career in a STEM field.
The award provides an inclusive option for UM international students, as many domestic scholarships are limited to US citizens or permanent residents. For example, this year’s winner is from Brazil.
Graduate Students Win NSF-GRFP Awards
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program supports phenomenal graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral studies in NSF-supported STEM disciplines.
The five-year scholarship includes three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000 and an in-school tuition stipend of $12,000.
This year, 44 senior UM graduates and current graduate students won scholarships in a wide variety of STEM fields. Students in the College of Engineering have had a particularly strong performance this cycle, with 21 of the 44 winners pursuing studies in engineering fields.
UM consistently ranks in the top 10 universities for NSF-GRFs received each year.
The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships manages the nomination process for many of these scholarships and advises undergraduate students in seeking competitive awards. Recent highlights along with numerous STEM research scholarships include the second year in a row that UM students have been named Rhodes or Truman Scholars.
“UM’s support for undergraduate research is second to none. Each year, hundreds of undergraduate students meaningfully participate in research projects on our campus,” said ONSF Director , Henry Dyson.
“Even for students who do not win these highly competitive awards, the application process for the above awards is a beneficial process that prepares them for graduate admissions. Over the past eight years, nearly 100 candidates for these awards have gone on to doctoral degrees. and MD-Ph.D. programs at top universities.