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UH student named Goldwater Scholar, 2 more receive honorable mention

HOUSTON, April 21, 2014 Performing brain research that can one day be applied to medical and technological advances, University of Houston (UH) junior Khanh (Kate) Nguyen has been recognized as one of the nation's top science students. A double major in mathematics and physics, Nguyen is among the 2014 recipients of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

One of the most prestigious awards available to undergraduate students, the Goldwater Scholarship provides funding to sophomore and junior students majoring in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering with plans to pursue careers in research. With only one fourth of applicants selected to receive the honor this year, Nguyen was among 283 recipients selected from a field of 1,166 candidates.

As only the seventh student to receive a Goldwater Scholarship in UH's history, Nguyen will receive $7,500 for tuition, fees, books, and room and board for the 2014-15 academic year. Two other UH students biology major Marisa Simon and physics major Christina Stegemoller received honorable mentions this year.

"Kate's work ethic is among the most rigorous of any student I have seen," said Zachary Kilpatrick, her mentor and an assistant professor in UH's Department of Mathematics. "One of Kate's qualities that truly convinces me of her motivation and potential for a research career is her utter persistence. She has told me of the dense schedule she regularly keeps each semester and summer. I have noticed she thoroughly writes out specific questions she has about background reading or research problems, making sure they are answered in our regular meetings."

When Nguyen first learned about the mathematical biology major at UH, she became curious as to how mathematics contributed to biology and finds it fascinating to see how researchers can gain understanding of the brain using mathematical models. Her project with Kilpatrick concerns the brain's ability to represent spatial locat

Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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