Hannah Diehl and Bryce Hwang named 2016-17 Goldwater Scholars

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Friday, April 7, 2017 - 12:00pm


Hannah Diehl and Bryce Hwang have been named recipients of Barry Goldwater Scholarship Awards for 2016-17. The two, both affiliated with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of candidates nominated by university faculty nationwide.

Diehl, a double major in physics and computer science, was introduced to physics in the seventh grade, when she read the book "E=mc2" by David Bodanis. In her application, Diehl describes this as the beginning of her passion for physics. “Ever since, my life has been a constant quest to understand the typically incomprehensible.”

Most recently, Diehl’s research work has involved the analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment (LHCb), which was set up to explore what happened after the Big Bang. Working in collaboration with Michael Williams, an assistant professor of physics at MIT, Diehl’s analysis was approved by the working group at LHCb at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Hwang is pursuing a joint bachelor and master’s degree in computational biology within EECS. He aims to conduct research in proteomic and genomic computational cancer biology at a research hospital, and he intends to also acquire a medical degree and PhD in cancer biology to support that work.

A faculty reference in Hwang’s application described him as “the single most impressive and accomplished student that I have ever met.” He earned top scores in 7.06 (Cell Biology), the highest-level mandatory course for biology majors, the reference continued. “This is an impressive performance under any scenario. What blew me away even more is that Bryce took this course as a freshman,” adding most students are second-semester juniors or seniors.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, and engineering. Recipients receive stipends of $7,500 per year toward covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.