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Two Penn State undergraduates earn national Goldwater Scholarship

2 May 2023

Penn State sophomores Yuki Yoshida and Kueyoung Kim have earned the 2023 Goldwater Scholarship.

As recipients of the prestigious Goldwater scholarship that recognizes undergraduates who show exceptional potential as leaders, Yoshida and Kim can receive up to $7,500 to support their growth and continued research in the fields of natural science, mathematics or engineering.

Yuki Yoshida

Yuki Yoshida, of State College, is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. After committing to Penn State, Yoshida immediately joined the lab of Squire Booker, Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Holder of the Eberly Family Distinguished Chair in Science, under the direction of John N. Alumasa, associate research professor, who encouraged her to independently think through biochemical concepts to design her own assays, she explained.

Yoshida’s research has focused on enzymology, drug design, surface glycosylation, electron microscopy and kinase signaling. This robust research experience has given her a strong foundation to pursue her ambitious research goals.

“Receiving the Barry Goldwater Scholarship is not only a great honor, but it also fuels my passion for my research in drug design and enzymology,” Yoshida said. “It will help me open doors to many possibilities in the future, including entry to competitive internships, research positions and graduate programs.”

Kueyoung Kim

Kueyoung Kim, also of State College, is a sophomore majoring in chemistry. Upon joining the Penn State community and becoming involved in the Zarzar Group under mentorship of Associate Professor of Chemistry Lauren Zarzar, Kim immediately felt like he had a group of people that shared interests and could help guide him through his undergraduate career, he explained.

One of Kim’s research projects involved investigating the dynamic properties of emulsions, a mixture of two immiscible liquids, such as oil and water. He explains that very little is known about these processes, and he is currently finalizing a manuscript to help better explain the importance of his research.  

“Being awarded the Goldwater Scholarship serves as not only a recognition of my passion for science, but also of the amazing mentors that I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the past two years,” Kim said. “This scholarship motivates me to continue working hard in the lab and the classroom so that I can contribute new insights to the broader scientific community.”

Kim said he is excited to expand his research as a member of the Amgen Scholars Program at UC Berkeley this summer.

About the Goldwater Scholarship

Each year, the scholarship, named for statesman Barry Goldwater, awards 300 undergraduates in their second or third year of study in the fields of natural science, engineering, and mathematics.

Those interested in competing for a Goldwater Scholarship next year should contact Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) to learn more about the scholarship program, verify that they meet the eligibility criteria and begin the application process. Applicants must be U.S citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents in their sophomore or junior year and demonstrate an interest in a research career in select STEM fields. Applicants must submit a pre-application form and complete a full application during the fall semester to be considered for University nomination. Penn State nominates four students each year.   

Students interested in developing their potential for research and fellowships can start by meeting with an undergraduate research ambassador, attending a workshop from URFM or applying to the Spark Program

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education.