You are here

Two engineering students earn 2019 Goldwater Scholarship

Mia Zhang

Electrical and computer engineering major Mia Zhang and chemical engineering major Thomas Porter have been named Barry Goldwater Scholars, the nation’s most prestigious award for undergraduate researchers in science, math and engineering. Scholars receive an award to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.  

Currently a junior, Zhang plans to pursue an MD-PhD degree in biomedical engineering and conduct research on micro- and nanoscale technology for medicine and biology. She is advised by Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Jonathan Song.

“Mia is truly an exceptional student in terms of her intelligence and drive for excellence,” Song said. “I am delighted for her.” He added that within a few months of Zhang working in his lab, she was already operating independently with her experiments. She is currently leading studies in testing the efficacy of inductive electric fields in combination with different pharmacological inhibitors on breast cancer cells.

Also a junior, Thomas Porter has set his sights on a PhD in chemical engineering to conduct research in bionanomaterials for cancer theranostics and to teach at the university level. He has been researching methods to improve quantum dot nanoparticles for biomedical imaging in the lab of his advisor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Jessica Winter.

Thomas Porter“He is a remarkable student who represents the best of what it is to be a Buckeye,” she said. “He has made tremendous progress on several aspects of the research that have been stymied for years.”

In addition to Zhang and Porter, chemistry and physics major Caroline Jipa and computer information science and mathematics major Vilas Winstein also were named Goldwater Scholars. ​Since the award's inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 60 Goldwater Scholars. This is the second time when all four Ohio State nominees have received the award, which last occurred in 2007.

According to the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, 496 of the overall 1,223 students nominated by U.S. colleges and universities received scholarships. It is estimated that over 5,000 students applied for their university’s nomination for the award, however each institution may only nominate four. Zhang and Porter were two of only 74 engineering student recipients.

Students interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship or other nationally competitive awards should contact