goldwater scholars illusration

Meet our 4 new Goldwater scholars

March 29, 2022

University News

Four University of Richmond students recently received Goldwater scholarships, the preeminent undergraduate award in science and math. UR was the only school in Virginia with four winners, the maximum number extended to a single school.

Andrew Brady, Harry Dang, Molly Kate Kreider, and Narmeen Rashid make up the largest number of Goldwater scholars in a single year for UR.

Brady, a sophomore from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is researching mathematical objects that can fix errors in electronic communications. He is a double major in mathematics and computer science.  

Jim Davis, Brady’s research adviser, called him one of the top two students he has encountered in more than 30 years of teaching.

“I am super grateful for this award and the many mentors that have allowed me to get to where I am today," said Brady, who intends to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical computer science and become a university professor. 

Dang, a junior originally from Saigon, Vietnam, and currently Garden Grove, California, is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and minoring in math and physics.  

Dang’s research is focused on the development of cost-effective and portable sensors used by law enforcement, health professionals, and consumers to screen for explosives, drugs, and signs of disease. Dang, who is also a Beckman Foundation scholar, is the first author of two publications in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A and Langmuir and has presented at three regional American Chemical Society meetings. 

Dang’s research advisor, chemistry professor Michael Leopold, said, “Without a doubt, Harry is the single most capable academic student and the most impressive undergraduate researcher I have encountered in my 20-plus year career.” 

Dang plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. and aspires to become a physician-scientist. 

The award “is a testament to the consistent dedication of many professors at UR, especially Dr. Leopold, to my development as a student and a researcher,” Dang said. “Research has given me a sense of purpose in life and furthered my professional aspirations.” 

Kreider, a junior from Franklin, Tennessee, is researching optical physics, the branch of physics that studies the behavior and properties of light. Kreider, a double major in physics and English, is the first author of a paper published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C and has presented at various American Physical Society conferences and the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. 

Kreider’s research advisor is physics professor Mariama Rebello de Sousa Dias, who said, “Molly Kate always puts extra effort into her work and always has room in her schedule to help others on research matters and other endeavors.” 

“I'm so honored to have received this award and so grateful for the support from all of my incredible mentors along the way,” said Kreider, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics and teach at the university level. “More than anything, I think this award is a testament to all of the resources and the fantastic support system I have at UR.” 

Rashid is a junior from Midlothian, Virginia, whose research focuses on treating breast cancer. She has studied the efficacy of novel therapies and drugs for treating breast cancer and is the first author on a manuscript published in Translational Oncology. She also completed a review on breast cancer liver metastasis, which she published as first author in Clinical & Experimental Metastasis. She is currently submitting her third article as first author looking at resistance to targeted therapeutics in triple-negative breast cancer. 

Rashid has conducted her research at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and has taken courses with biology professors Jory Brinkerhoff and Dan Pierce, who both recommended her for this award. “Narmeen truly stands out as the top student in terms of research achievements and incredible potential for future scientific excellence,” Pierce said. 

“I am extremely grateful to have received this award, and I am humbled to be a part of this group of talented, passionate scientists,” said Rashid, who plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in cancer biology and focus on research related to new therapies for cancer patients. 

“To have all four students recognized among a large, competitive, and talented candidate pool highlights both the academic caliber of these students and UR’s commitment to faculty-mentored undergraduate research,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. 

The Goldwater scholarship is open to college sophomores and juniors interested in pursuing careers and fostering excellence in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. This year, 417 Goldwater scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of more than 1,200 students nominated by about 430 colleges and universities nationwide.