Elis awarded Goldwater Scholarships

The International Education and Fellowship Programs office announced Friday that three Yale students have been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, considered one of the most prestigious scholarships given to undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.

As scholarship recipients, Adam Bouland ’09, Elizabeth Jerison ’10 and Adam Marblestone ’09 — whose research deals with computational mechanics, biophysics and DNA nanotechnology and quantum information theory, respectively — will receive up to $7,500 a year for tuition, fees, books and room and board. Sophomores are eligible to collect funds for two years and juniors for one.

At least three Yalies have won the scholarship every year since 2001, except during the 2004-’05 academic year, when two Yalies were awarded the prize, which was established by Congress in 1986 in honor of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Each year, the University selects four students, based on interviews and essays describing their research experience, to be considered by the national application board. The board ultimately chooses about 300 students out of 1,000 applicants nationwide.

“Our 2008 scholars are truly gifted young scientists with enormous potential,” said Linda De Laurentis, fellowship director of Yale’s Office of International Education and Fellowship Programs. “In addition to achieving stellar records in rigorous programs of study, they have conducted extensive research, presented at professional meetings and also published.”

Bouland has conducted computational-mechanics research for the past four summers at the U.S. Army research lab, the Stanford University geology lab and the Yale mechanical-engineering department. During this time, he has studied the mechanics of faulting in the earth’s surface, among other topics.

“I would like to go on and pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics or civil engineering,” Bouland said. “Hopefully that can happen at Stanford.”

Jerison, who participated in Harvard University’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program last summer, has also worked during her time at Yale on research into soft condensed matter with Eric Dufresne, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and physics. This summer she will conduct biophysics research at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and she plans to pursue a doctorate in physics after graduation in the hopes of one day becoming a professor.

Marblestone’s research with the physics and applied physics department involves DNA nanotechnology and quantum-information theory, which he said are surprisingly accessible to undergraduates with limited experience.

“The areas in which I’ve worked are emerging, interdisciplinary fields that are based on really novel ideas,” Marblestone said. “My receiving the Goldwater speaks to the fact that these new fields are full of conceptually fascinating projects that are available to students with relatively little background.”

Marblestone said he hopes to become involved in the rapidly expanding fields of nanotechnology or systems neuroscience, which apply physics and engineering to understand how the brain functions as a computational system.

This year, 189 of the Goldwater Scholars were men and 132 were women. Thirty-three scholars are mathematics majors, 227 are majors in science and related fields, 52 are engineering majors, and nine are computer science majors.

Counting this year’s recipients, 48 Yale undergraduates have been named Goldwater Scholars since the program was established in 1986.

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