Published on 4/20/2021 9:36:50 AM
Two students from the Texas A&M A&M University College of Science have been named 2021 Goldwater Scholars by the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and research potential.
Sophomore chemistry major Brianna Bishop ’23 and junior biology major Ryan J. Rahman ’22 earned selection by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation for the nation’s most prestigious award presented to undergraduates who intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. Each award provides up to $7,500 per year to help students cover costs associated with tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
Bishop and Rahman are among 410 recipients — including 25 from the state of Texas — selected this year from an estimated pool of more than 5,000 applicants across the country. A total of 52 Texas A&M students have achieved the coveted honor since the program issued its first award in 1989, including 19 from the College of Science. To date, the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation has bestowed more than $40 million in scholarships.
“The Goldwater Scholarship has always recognized truly exceptional young scientists who embody the excellence, integrity and leadership Texas A&M is known for and that characterize the best of scientific leadership,” said Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies and LAUNCH Executive Director Dr. Sumana Datta, who coordinates the award nomination process.
“Brianna Bishop and Ryan Rahman have shown incredible creativity, insight and true scientific maturity as undergraduates under the mentorship of two outstanding faculty mentors. LAUNCH would like to thank the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and the Association of Former Students for their support of these extraordinary young researchers.”
The Goldwater Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
Bishop, who is from Spring, Texas, is pursuing a minor in mathematics to enhance her abilities as a successful researcher. Since 2020, she has been a member of Dr. Daniel Tabor’s Research Group in the Department of Chemistry, where her work focuses on predicting chemical structures capable of efficient energy generation for solar cells. For the past year and a half, Bishop has been a student worker at the Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center, serving veterans and their dependents by educating them about the variety of campus resources available to them. Additionally, Bishop plans awareness and social events for women veterans on the Texas A&M campus through the Aggie Women Veterans program.
She is an active member in the Beta Omega chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for STEM majors, where she serves on the philanthropy and recruitment committees to assist the directors in planning and executing various events. Bishop also was part of the Society of Women Engineers Outreach committee, working with her team to travel to local elementary schools within the College Station Independent School District to provide lessons about STEM. After graduating from Texas A&M, Bishop plans to pursue her Ph.D. in chemistry and then conduct cutting-edge research in theoretical and computational chemistry, whether in industry or academia.
“Brianna is outstanding — I am so fortunate she joined our research group last summer after her freshman year,” Tabor said. “In less than a year, she has already made significant contributions in discovering the principles that determine the performance of next-generation organic electronics. She always has bold and creative ideas, and actively links her research to other parts of her studies. She is the prototypical example of the great things that undergraduates can do with the research environment and opportunities at Texas A&M.”
Rahman, a native of Lubbock, Texas, is a pre-medical student with double minors in neuroscience and bioinformatics. He is a member of University Distinguished Professor of Biology Dr. Richard Gomer’s Laboratory in the Texas A&M Department of Biology, where his research seeks to identify specific proteins and mechanisms capable of killing bacterial pathogens in order to develop novel therapeutics to treat tuberculosis and related diseases. His work is currently being written up in two manuscripts for publication, one featuring him as first author. More broadly, Rahman is interested in the complexity of biological systems, including the brain. In addition to serving as President of the American Medical Student Association, he is a University Scholar and a 2019-20 Beckman Scholar. Active in the Biology Honors Program, he sits on the Biology Honors Advisory Council and also is the undergraduate representative on the Biology Diversity Committee. In his free time, Rahman performs with Swaram A Cappella, a South Asian fusion a cappella team. After graduation, he plans to enroll in medical school to earn an M.D/Ph.D. and hopes to establish a translational research laboratory that uses clinical tools to develop novel therapeutics for disease.
“Ryan Rahman has done amazing work in the lab to elucidate new drug targets for tuberculosis, and we are all very proud that he got a Goldwater scholarship,” Gomer said. “For his project, he had to develop and troubleshoot a complex and tricky assay. In true Aggie spirt, he persevered and got the assay to work, and then used this to find possible new ways to combat this terrible disease.”
Bishop and Rahman were nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship along with two additional Texas A&M students — sophomore biomedical engineering major Anita Xia Sumali ’23 and junior computer science major Bora Oztekin ’22 — by a faculty-staff committee organized by LAUNCH: National Fellowships at Texas A&M University.
To read more about how LAUNCH helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally competitive awards such as the Goldwater Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, visit http://natlfellows.tamu.edu.
Media Contact: Dr. Sumana Datta firstname.lastname@example.org