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Meet the 2015 Goldwater Scholars

Four MIT students honored for their academic achievements.
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2015 MIT Goldwater Scholars: (l-r) Julia Page, Felipe Hernandez, Kaustav Gopinathan, Margaret Guo
2015 MIT Goldwater Scholars: (l-r) Julia Page, Felipe Hernandez, Kaustav Gopinathan, Margaret Guo
Photo: Lillie Paquette/School of Engineering

Four MIT juniors have been named recipients of Barry Goldwater Scholarship Awards for 2015-16. They were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,206 candidates nominated by university faculty nationwide. This year’s Goldwater Scholarship recipients are Kaustav A. Gopinathan, Margaret G. Guo, Felipe Hernandez, and Julia E. Page.

Gopinathan, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), “is the most talented undergraduate student I have ever encountered … destined to be a scholar of the highest quality and I look forward to seeing his name in lights,” wrote one faculty member in his recommendation, adding “I typically do not write words of praise liberally.” Gopinathan, who has conducted research to develop a low-cost medical device for diagnosing anemia, and a signal processing technique for identifying apnea in newborns, intends to acquire both an MD and PhD.   

Guo, a double major in EECS and biological engineering, hopes to perform research to increase understanding of biological systems, focusing “on engineering tractable models … for the purposes of supporting clinical decision making or improving biomedical systems and devices.” She got an early start on such research. In an internship with Medtronics, Guo helped to develop a new generation pacemaker, and in the lab of Linda Griffith, the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation and a professor of biological and mechanical engineering, Guo worked on image and statistical analysis tools used in an organ model for endometriosis.

Hernandez, majoring in mathematics, intends to pursue a PhD in this field and advance understanding between analysis, combinatorics, geometric measure theory, and materials science. One faculty advisor wrote that “what is really amazing is his ability to learn independently, and I believe that he is on track to become a first-rate research mathematician and scientist.”

Page, majoring in chemistry, plans to conduct research at the intersection of chemistry and medicine, focusing on diseases and the drugs used to treat them at the molecular level. One of Page’s recommendations concluded: “She is one of the most talented students I have met in more than two decades on the faculty at MIT. Julia has outstanding potential for leadership in a research career.” Page’s interest in biomedical research is motivated in part by her experience shadowing a radiation oncologist and engaging with cancer patients. Says Page, “I would like to have a career that combines research with some patient care.”

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, and engineering. Recipients will receive stipends covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

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