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Ashwin Sah, Megan Yamoah, and Steven Truong named 2019-20 Goldwater Scholars

Three MIT undergraduates honored for their academic achievements.
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Left to right: Ashwin Sah, Megan Yamoah, and Steven Truong are among just under 500 undergraduate students in the United States to receive 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.
Left to right: Ashwin Sah, Megan Yamoah, and Steven Truong are among just under 500 undergraduate students in the United States to receive 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.
Photos courtesy of Sah, Yamoah, and Truong

Three undergraduate students have been selected for a 2019-20 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, two in the School of Science and one in the School of Engineering. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs, the Goldwater Foundation gave the award to 496 sophomore and junior students within the United States, chosen from more than 5,000 nominations this year.

One of the 62 fellows in mathematics and computer science majors, Ashwin Sah, is not only aiming on continuing his education in mathematics to acquire a PhD but also hopes to teach as a faculty member at a university, researching theoretical mathematics. Now a sophomore in the Department of Mathematics, he was previously one of six Putnam Fellows at the Putnam Mathematics Competition and won the gold medal at the International Math Olympiad. Sah produced two papers accepted for publication in research journals, has written several others independently, and solved a 2001 conjecture by Jeff Kahn regarding the maximum number of independent sets in a graph. He is on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in three years.

Megan Yamoah, a junior in the Department of Physics, is among the 360 recipients majoring in natural sciences. In addition to an outstanding academic record, she performed research in two groups and continues in another as a repeat participant in MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Yamoah has built a control system for a semiconductor, culminating in a patent currently under review. She also helped install dilution refrigerators in a lab on MIT's campus and experiments with them largely on her own, designing and engineering devices to investigate two-dimensional materials used in novel quantum computing. In her future, Yamoah plans to focus on quantum computing. Beyond research, she is a strong student leader in many physics societies and groups on campus.

In Course 20 (biological engineering), Steven Truong joins 74 engineers across the country who were granted this year’s Goldwater fellowship. He is a junior in the Department of Biological Engineering and is also a double-major in Writing. Truong has an outstanding academic record and is also an opinion editor for the MIT Tech newspaper and co-president of the MIT Biological Engineering Undergraduate Board. His research interests lie in studying diabetes, such as developing new ways to deliver insulin to diabetics. He currently works with members of the MIT Koch Institute and has also collaborated with the Joslin Diabetes Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and traveled to Vietnam for a project he co-led. 

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 was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students in their pursuit of careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering, providing recipients with stipends of $7,500 per year to contribute toward their educational expenses.

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