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Five Stanford undergraduates named 2023 Goldwater Scholars

The national award is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

image featuring five students award winners

2023 Goldwater Scholars. From left to right: Emily Snell, Angelina Chan, Benjamin Przybocki, Xiaomian Yang, and Jenny Shi. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Five Stanford undergraduates have been awarded the 2023 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

This year’s recipients—all Stanford juniors—are Angelina Chan, Benjamin Przybocki, Jenny Shi, Emily Snell, and Xiaomian Yang.

A total of 413 Goldwater Scholars were selected this year based on academic merit from a field of more than 5,000 applicants nationwide.

Each Goldwater Scholar receives a sum equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Students who receive the award as sophomores receive support for up to two years; students who receive the award as juniors receive support for up to one year.

“I’ve always been fascinated by puzzles, and math is the ultimate collection of puzzles,” said Przybocki, who is majoring in mathematics. “To me, there are few experiences that compare to the joy of mathematical discovery, especially after being absorbed in a problem for months. When these beautiful puzzles have real-world applications, it makes them all the more fulfilling.”

Chan, a human biology major, said, “I’ve always loved to ask questions about everything around me – the best application of which is asking the unanswered questions on what makes the natural world around us ‘work.’ There really is so much more to discover in the biosciences, and I can’t wait to explore even more in the future.” 

Snell, who is majoring in earth and planetary sciences, added, “Being recognized as a Goldwater Scholar not only validates the passion and hard work I have poured into my research, but it also feels like a win for my family and hometown. I applied for the same reason that I applied to Stanford, to prove that great scientists come from diverse and non-traditional backgrounds.”

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), who served for nearly six decades as a soldier and respected leader, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Stanford’s Goldwater Scholarship winners for 2023:

Angelina Chan is a human biology major originally from Long Grove, Illinois, whose family now lives in Rocklin, California. Chan plans to obtain both an M.D. and Ph.D. pursuing graduate study in genetics, and to eventually become a physician-scientist, research molecular-level regulation of gene expression, teach at the university level, and mentor the next generation of scientists.

Benjamin Przybocki is a mathematics major from Austin, Texas. Przybocki plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical computer science leading to a research career studying automated reasoning and formal methods, bridging the gap between the theory and applications of formal logic.

Jenny Shi is a chemistry major from Palo Alto, California. Shi is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical & computational biology with a focus on neuroscience. Jenny’s career goal is to teach at the university level and to research how molecular changes in the brain affect neuronal circuitry and behavior in learning and memory.

Emily Snell is an earth and planetary sciences major from Butler, Ohio. Snell aims to obtain a Ph.D. in geochemical volcanology, conduct volcanology research, develop intersectional modes of eruption prediction, teach at the university level and mentor first-generation students.

Xiaomian Yang is a materials science and engineering major from San Jose, California. Yang’s career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, teach at the university level, and to conduct research in novel materials discovery for sustainability applications at the intersection of academia and industry.