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Student Scientists Win Goldwater Scholarships

Apr 11, 2017   |   Dartmouth News

Three Dartmouth undergraduates received the competitive prize this year.

Kevin Kang
Kevin Kang ’18

Kevin Kang ’18, a biomedical engineering sciences major from Erie, Pa.; Chenguang Li ’18, a major in physics modified by biology from Richland, Wash.; and Jared Lichtman ’18, a mathematics major from North Bethesda, Md.; have been named 2017 Goldwater Scholars.

The undergraduates are among 240 sophomores and juniors nationwide chosen to receive the honor. It is only the second time since 2000 that three Dartmouth students have been selected for the annual Goldwater prize, which support undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences.

“The Goldwater is the premier award for undergraduates in the sciences, intended to support students who will become the next generation of research talent in the United States,” says Jessica Smolin, assistant dean for scholarship advising.

“That three of our students were awarded Goldwater Fellowships in a single year is a testament to the outstanding contributions they have already made to the sciences, and to it speaks to the caliber of students in the sciences at Dartmouth,” Smolin says. “It also recognizes the outstanding mentorship and support our faculty provides by giving students access to cutting edge research opportunities.”

The Goldwater fellowships, established by Congress 1986 in honor of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, provide funding to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for each student. This year’s winners were selected from a field of 1,286 students from 2,000 American colleges and universities.

Kevin Kang ’18

Kang says last week brought two exciting milestones on the road to his professional goals of earning both an MD and a PhD in biomedical engineering. He received notification of his Goldwater fellowship and the next day earned that he has been accepted in the early assurance program at Geisel School of Medicine for the fall of 2018.

He credits the broad range of opportunities at Dartmouth for this success. His experience at the College includes working as a research assistant analyzing data on electromagnetic emissions from the Northern Lights under the tutelage of James LaBelle, chair of the physics and astronomy department, and assisting P. Jack Hoopes, professor of surgery at Geisel, on a project titled “Treating malignant melanoma with viral immunotherapy.” Kang’s work with Hoopes was as part of the College’s Presidential Scholars program.

In addition, Kang and two students working at Thayer School of Engineering developed “A Happier Lamp,” a device designed to treat seasonal affective disorder in college students. The prototype, which has a pending application for a patent, won third place in The Pitch, the Dartmouth entrepreneurial competition sponsored by the DALI Lab and The DEN, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network.

Kang is aiming for a career in biomedical research in the area of tissue engineering, a field in which researchers seek to develop methods to grow human tissue and organs for transplant. Inspired by his biology Professor G. Eric Schaller, his biochemistry professor, he wants to teach.

“I really like the way he challenges students with questions. So that’s something that I try to do,” Kang says.

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