Undergraduate STEM researchers nominated by Michigan State University for national Goldwater Scholarship

January 26, 2016

Four undergraduate researchers studying STEM-related fields have been nominated by Michigan State University for the nationally competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics, or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contribution in their chosen field.  MSU has produced 42 Goldwater Scholars since the scholarship program was established by Congress in 1986.

The scholarship provides funding for undergraduate tuition and living expenses.

The four MSU nominees are: Honors College junior Laura Azouz, who is majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering; Honors College junior Kiera Fisher, who is majoring in biomedical laboratory science in the Lyman Briggs College; Honors College junior Thomas Grubb, who is majoring in mathematics, advanced in the College of Natural Science and economics in the College of Social Science; and Honors College junior Hananiel Setiawan, who is majoring in physics in the College of Natural Science.

The National and International Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) Office, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes.

 “The opportunity to conduct research that these undergraduates have been given is key to preparing them for their chosen careers in science and engineering,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University is proud to nominate these exceptional students for the Goldwater Scholarship.”

Azouz works in the College of Engineering’s Whitehead Laboratory designing and engineering proteins. She also earned a first place award for her poster presentation at the 2015 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF).

She’s the recipient of the Jeffrey Cole Excellence Award, the M. G. & S. V. Larian Memorial Fund Scholarship, the Honors College National Scholarship, and the Yates/ACS Chemistry Award.

Azouz is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Cairo, Egypt. She graduated from the International School of Elite Education.

“After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering (with a concentration in biochemical engineering), I plan to conduct research on molecular design of proteins. I am committed to finding more affordable ways to provide vaccines to developing countries because of my experience growing up in Egypt,” Azouz said.

Fisher is a dean’s research scholar in the College of Natural Science, as well as a Beckman Scholar, performing research in Associate Professor Julia Busik’s diabetic complications research laboratory. Prior to that, she was a professorial assistant who worked in Associate Professor Chengfeng Yang’s lab. There she worked on a research project involving the mechanism by which microRNA-200b inhibits triple negative breast cancer metastasis.

She’s the recipient of the Honors College STATE Scholarship and the Lori Ann Neer-Swantko Endowed Scholarship.

Fisher is from Kalkaska, Michigan and graduated from Kalkaska High School.

“In my research career, I have made the decision that I would like to pursue cancer biology, with a focus on the physiological aspects of the disease that can lead to potential novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer patients in various stages. And in that same vein, I plan to practice medicine with my M.D. as a surgical oncologist, working to develop new minimally invasive cancer treatments for those affected with some of the most terrible side effects of malignant growth,” Fisher said.

Grubb worked as a professorial assistant for the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory as a freshman. In 2014, he performed research on mathematic patterns and statistics as part of the MSU Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics. Most recently, he conducted research in probabilistic methods at East Tennessee State University.

Grubb is an Econ Scholar and the recipient of the MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, the L.C. Plant Award Scholarship, and the Harold and Helen Tolles Scholarship.

He is from Haslett, Michigan and graduated from Haslett High School.

“Something in particular that I would like to do as a research level mathematician is consult for the U.S. government. I believe that mathematicians have a responsibility to use their analytical tools in the best way possible to help those around them,” Grubb said.

Setiawan works as a research assistant for the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He earned a first place award for his poster presentation at UURAF. Setiawan also participated in a National Science Foundation undergraduate research experience over the summer at Northwestern University.

He is a Gates Millennium Scholar, and the recipient of the Harold and Helen Tolles Scholarship.

Originally from Indonesia, Setiawan moved to the United States in 2010 and graduated from the Early College Program at Lansing Community College.

“My research career goal as a nuclear experimentalist is to conduct research using heavy-ion collision experiments to improve our understanding of nuclei far from stability,” Setiawan said.