News from RICE University

Rice undergraduates win coveted Goldwater Scholarship

Rice University students Emma Codianne and Daniel Wang have won the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, an annual award that recognizes pioneering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates in the United States.

Founded by Congress in 1986, the scholarship supports the next generation of STEM leaders by providing financial support to college sophomores and juniors with aspirations for research careers in these critical fields.

Emma Codianne
Emma Codianne submitted her research skills in quantum materials. Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University.

This year, 438 Goldwater applicants spanning 400 higher education institutions received the $7,500 awards, including Codianne and Wang.

Codianne, a junior majoring in physics, submitted her research skills in quantum materials honed while working at Morosan Lab. Her work explores correlated topological materials with potential applications in superconductivity and quantum computing.

Codianne’s mentors, including Emilia Morosan, professor of physics and astronomy; Ming Yi, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; and Onur Tosun, postdoctoral research associate, guided her through her journey, which she plans to continue with a Ph.D. in physics, focusing on experimental condensed matter physics.

“I’m thankful for everyone at Morosan Lab,” Codianne said. “They have been so supportive and have helped me learn how to synthesize materials, conduct data analysis and keep everything organized.”

Daniel Wang
Daniel Wang is a junior triple-majoring in neuroscience, computer science and physics. Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University.

Wang, a junior triple-majoring in neuroscience, computer science and physics, embarked on a path to conduct computational research in cancer neuroscience to improve cancer treatment.

Mentored by Mustafa A. Amin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Rice, and Dr. Phyu P. Aung and Dr. Leomar Y. Ballester, both associate professors at the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Wang is involved in research aimed at decoding biomarkers for brain tumors.

Wang intends to pursue both a medical degree and a doctorate to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. He chose to attend Rice in part because of its proximity to the Texas Medical Center.

“The Medical Center is next door to campus,” Wang said. “It’s the biggest medical center in the world, and I am in close contact with ongoing research in medicine.”

Chris Burbridge, assistant director at the Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) and the coordinator for the Goldwater Scholarship at Rice, emphasized the transformative impact of the application process in shaping students’ academic and professional journeys.

“The Goldwater application process is a rewarding opportunity,” Burbridge said. “Codianne and Wang’s achievements reflect their dedication to fostering innovation and excellence in STEM fields. The CCL is always here to support students as they synthesize their undergraduate experiences through fellowship and scholarship opportunities.”