Three UNC-Chapel Hill students have been awarded 2015 Goldwater Scholarships as announced by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Larry Han, a junior from Raleigh, Anya Katsevich, a sophomore from Oviedo, Florida, and Mary Kaitlyn Tsai, a junior from Apex, received the prestigious award that provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines.
Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit. In 2015, 260 recipients were chosen from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.
Han, who was valedictorian of his senior class at Leesville Road High School, is a Morehead-Cain Scholar double majoring in biostatistics and mathematics with a minor in chemistry. He studied abroad during the spring of 2014 as a Phillips Ambassador at the National University of Singapore and is currently in the Honors Carolina program with multiple publications and presentations to his credit. Additionally, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring.
“Larry has exceptional ability, selflessness, and focus, which he will apply to problems in public health,” said Jason Reed, associate professor of biology and chair of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Goldwater selection committee, “He has used statistical models to explore factors that influence HIV transmission in China, and malaria transmission in the Congo.”
Han has researched public health issues with the International Diagnostics Center at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Spatial Health Research Group, and the UNC Project-China Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. He serves as a teaching assistant and coordinating committee member for the Foreign Policy Association at UNC-Chapel Hill and is co-founder of the Corpore Sano Undergraduate Medical Journal. Han also works as a development coordinator for Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health Global, developing fundraising protocol and disbursement of funds to promote HIV testing in China and Hong Kong.
Katsevich, a mathematics major and German minor, is currently conducting high-dimensional data collection research in the department of statistics in the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences. Believing in the benefits of big data analysis, she is using her research to find practical applications of mathematical theory. As a freshman, Katsevich founded and presided over the Carolina Math Club and also participates in Carolina’s German Club.
“Anya is an intellectually precocious mathematician who has published two papers in professional mathematics journals,” said Reed. “At UNC, she has embarked on a graduate-level mathematics curriculum, and passed the graduate qualifying exam in Analysis at the end of her freshman year.”
Katsevich was valedictorian of her senior class at Oviedo High School where she was enrolled in a dual program at Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida, taking undergraduate and graduate level math. While taking class at UCF, she conducted research that resulted in published works printed in mathematics journals.
Tsai, a chemistry major with a focus in biochemistry and a medical anthropology minor, participates in UNC-Chapel Hill’s undergraduate research program conducting complex chemical reactions and binding studies of amino acids and peptides. She volunteers at UNC Hospitals in cardiology and pediatrics in addition to coaching in the “Girls on the Run” program at Ephesus Elementary, an endeavor that teaches young girls character-building through running. Tsai was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring.
“Kaitlyn is a burgeoning scientific talent with interests in using detailed understanding of epigenetic mechanisms to develop treatments for many diseases,” said Reed.
Tsai has previously worked as a research assistant at the UNC-Chapel Hill radiation oncology department and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education. She graduated from the Academy of Information Technology at Apex High School.
UNC-Chapel Hill has produced a total 44 Goldwater Scholars, including 30 since Fall 2000. The last time three UNC-Chapel Hill students were named recipients in the same year was 2010.