Five undergraduates awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarships

Five Stanford undergraduate students have received 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, which are designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.

From top left, Soo Hyun “Francesca” Kim, Tejas Athni, Isabel Gallegos, Christian Cepeda and Sidhika Balachandar are recipients of the 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarship. (Photos courtesy of the students)

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.

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 statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Stanford’s 2021 Goldwater Scholarship winners are:

TEJAS ATHNI, of Macon, Georgia, a junior majoring in biology and in political science. Athni hopes to pursue an MD/PhD to conduct research on the molecular mechanisms and eco-epidemiological drivers of disease, lead an interdisciplinary research group and mentor the next generation of scientists.

SIDHIKA BALACHANDAR, of Gainesville, Florida, a junior majoring in computer science. Balachandar hopes to pursue a PhD in computer science and to become a professor who teaches and conducts research in the use of artificial intelligence for computational biology.

CHRISTIAN CEPEDA, of Jefferson City, Missouri, a sophomore majoring in human biology with a concentration in neuroimmunology. Cepeda hopes to pursue an MD/PhD in neuroscience to conduct neuroimmunology research at an academic institution and to work and volunteer at a free clinic to help underserved populations.

ISABEL GALLEGOS, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a junior majoring in computer science. Gallegos hopes to pursue a PhD in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence to use biomedical data science to build machine learning models to improve healthcare decision-making and to teach at the university level.

SOO HYUN “FRANCESCA” KIM, of Seoul, South Korea, a junior majoring in biomedical computation. Kim hopes to pursue an MD/PhD to develop novel technologies for treatment of brain disorders and to conduct research and teach at the university level.