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Four Ohio State students honored with Goldwater Scholarships

STEM research and leadership recognized with award

Four students from The Ohio State University have been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

Isaiah BoatengIsaiah Boateng, Defne Ceyhan, Devi Dheekshita Nelakurti and Anya Phillips were all named 2023 Goldwater Scholars, the prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, math and engineering. Goldwater Scholars receive an award to cover the cost of tuition and other undergraduate expenses up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Goldwater Scholars receive the honor for their academic merit, strong commitment to a research career in STEM, and leadership in their chosen field.

Boateng started cancer research in high school working with the late Dr. Albert de la Chapelle through the CREATES Program at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Now a third-year honors student majoring in biomedical science in the College of Medicine, Boateng currently researches cancer with Ann-Kathrin Eisfeld, assistant professor of hematology. His work supports better health outcomes for Black patients and racial minorities.

Defne Ceyhan“This recognition is more than a testament to the dedication I have poured into my studies and research. It is a reflection of all of the support I have been blessed to receive from my mentors, peers and family. But most importantly, this is an opportunity to share research on a national scale that could improve survival outcomes for those diagnosed with cancer. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that this fellowship will bring as I continue my research and passion for science,” Boateng said.

Ceyhan is a second-year honors student majoring in data analytics with a minor in biology at the College of Arts and Sciences. She started computational genomics research in high school working with Dr. Peter White at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and has continued her research at Ohio State. Ceyhan plans to pursue a PhD in computational biology and conduct genomic research to advance the treatment of cancers and rare diseases.

“The Goldwater Scholarship has cemented my desire to pursue a research career in computational biology and given me greater confidence in my abilities as a researcher,” she said. “I am beyond excited to join the Goldwater Scholar community, and I am incredibly grateful for my research mentors and everyone who has supported me throughout this process."

Devi Dheekshita NelakurtiNelakurti plans to pursue an MD/PhD in computational biology and specialize clinically in gynecological oncology. She started cancer research in high school working with Ruben Petreaca, assistant professor of molecular genetics. Her continued research at Ohio State has resulted in the publication of five papers and earned her the Pelotonia Fellowship. She is a third-year honors student in the College of Medicine majoring in biomedical science with minors in computer and information science and film studies.

“I am so grateful for this recognition and dedicate it to the sacrifices that my parents made to immigrate, so I can pursue an education in the U.S.,” she said. “It inspires me to continue pursuing my passion for scientific inquiry in medicine and have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Anya PhillipsFor Phillips, getting the Goldwater Scholarship award has “renewed confidence in my ability to become an astrophysicist, and I am excited to continue working towards that goal.”

Phillips is working toward a PhD in astrophysics to become a researcher who either utilizes large datasets to solve problems in astronomy or performs data analysis for transportation or public libraries to support marginalized groups. They conduct research on understanding the properties of binary star systems with Christopher Kochanek, Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Since the award’s inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 73 Goldwater Scholars. There were 413 Goldwater scholars named this year, out of the 5,000 students who applied.

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