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Drexel's 2021 Goldwater Nominees

February 1, 2021

Congratulations to Drexel's nominees for the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship!

The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes undergraduates in science, math, and engineering fields planning to pursue research careers and with the potential to be leaders in their fields. The scholarship provides funding for their final year or two of undergraduate study. These students were selected to represent Drexel University in the national Goldwater Scholarship competition. We wish them the best of luck!


Sumaiya Begum (BS Biological Sciences ’22, Honors) first engaged in research at the Yodh soft condensed matter laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, investigating geometric frustration in colloids. She expanded her research interests at the Friedman bio-magnetic laboratory at Drexel University, designing magnetically actuated ribbons for minimally invasive surgery. Concurrently, she also conducted bio research in her SEA-PHAGES course, analyzing microbial drug interactions and genome sequencing techniques. She is currently studying biological sciences (pathogenic biology concentration) with a minor in chemistry and hopes to pursue a PhD in Molecular Cellular Engineering. She seeks to apply her experiences to conduct multidisciplinary collaborative oncolytic virotherapy research and improve treatment in combatting cancerous tissue.

Julia Dengler (BS/MS Biomedical Engineering ‘23, Honors) is a pre-junior biomedical engineering student concentrating in neuro-engineering with an interest in neuromodulation. Julia started her undergraduate research career through Drexel's VIP (Vertically Integrated Program) in the winter quarter of her freshmen year in the Cognitive Neuroengineering and Wellbeing Laboratory (CogNew) of Dr. John Medaglia. Julia participated in the STAR program also through Dr. Medaglia's lab and completed a project on the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on cognitive control. Through this project, Julia collaborated with the Laboratory of Cognition and Neural Stimulation (LCNS) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. During her first co-op, Julia worked at Boehringer Laboratories where she started a project researching and designing neurosurgical retraction tools. Julia continues to work in Dr. Medaglia's lab and contributes to projects involving neuroimaging and neuromodulation. She plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. focusing on translational neuro-engineering with the goal of conducting clinical research to better develop medical devices and treatments for the purpose of treating congenital neurological diseases and disorders. Julia's faculty mentors for the Goldwater application process were John Medaglia and Apoorva Kelkar.

Cyra Gallano (BS/MS Materials Science and Engineering ‘23, Honors) is a BS/MS Materials Science and Engineering student interested in electronic, photonic, and optical properties of materials. She is planning on pursuing a graduate degree in condensed matter physics to improve energy storage technology. As an undergrad, she has worked at Argonne National Laboratory on cosmology and neutrino detectors and with Dr. Ekaterina Pomerantseva in the Materials Electrochemistry Group on nanomaterials for battery applications.

Emma MacNeil (BS/MS Biomedical Engineering ‘22, Honors) is a junior biomedical engineering student concentrating in neuro-engineering with an interest in cognitive neuroengineering and human performance. Emma started her research career on her second co-op at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) with the Applied Research Branch, working on cognitive workload. She has continued this line of research on campus at the Cognitive Neuroengineering and Quantitative Experimental Research Lab (CONQUER CollabOrative) under Dr. Kurtulus Izzetoglu.


*This does not include nominees who decline to be publicized at this stage in the process.

Special thanks to faculty who participated on the Goldwater Campus Committee, working with Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs to review and advise nominees on their applications:
  • Paul Brandt-Rauf, Dean and Distinguished University Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
  • Jaudelice de Oliviera, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Irina Ciobanescu Husanu, Associate Clinical Professor, Engineering Technology

We would like to send an additional thanks to those faculty members who participated in anonymous application review, providing written feedback to the candidates.

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986, with the goal of recognizing the nation's top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, please contact Leah Gates, Associate Director of Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs, at