Two University of Arizona students have earned top-level, national recognition for their research endeavors.
Derek Huang and Ersilia Anghel, both UA Honors College students, are each recipients of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education award for the 2011-12 year.
This year, 275 students were awarded the $7,500 scholarship, which goes to top university sophomores and juniors in the mathematics, science and engineering disciplines.
Another UA student, Kaylan Burleigh, who also is an Honors College student, earned an honorable mention.
Born in Romania, Anghel made her way to Tucson by way of Toronto, Canada. Once enrolled the UA, she began pursuing a double major in biochemistry and art history, immediately becoming involved in a basic science lab.
But during her sophomore year, Anghel moved into a translational research laboratory in the surgery department to investigate the use of a particular nanoparticle to improve the healing process in wounds, especially for patients who are diabetic.
She collaborates with Ronald Heimark, David Armstrong and Manish Bharara, all members of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance at University Medical Center
“My curiosity for science will be quenched in the laboratory by advancing human knowledge and pushing back the borders of the unknown," said Anghel, who also participated in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program and the Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open, or BRAVO!, program last summer.
"I will be able to apply my research in developing new, cutting-edge treatments for improving health," she added.
Huang, a mathematics and physics major, has been engaged in research since his first semester at the UA.
"The most exhilarating aspect of doing research is feeling like there are no boundaries to what you can do and how well you do it," Huang said. "Excelling in a class means getting an A and leaving with a solid grasp of an established body of knowledge. Research, on the other hand, is endless."
Huang worked with Srinivas Manne, an associate professor of physics, on the “pursuit-evasion problem,” a project he tackled for 12 weeks before presenting his research, ultimately winning an award for his talk.
“What really sets Derek apart from his intelligent cohorts is the research maturity he already shows at his tender age,” Manne said.
Huang’s is currently serving as an undergraduate researcher in the lab headed up by Arvinder Sandhu, a UA assistant professor of physics.
In Sandhu’s ultrafast spectroscopy lab, Huang is working on a pulse shaper project. "I'm amazed at all the opportunities for undergraduate research here at the UA," Huang said.
Burleigh, an astronomy and physics major, has participated in research at the UA and elsewhere through the Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
He is currently conducting research on star formation in the interstellar medium at UA's Steward Observatory with John Bieging, an astronomy professor.
This summer, he will continue his research on the solar chromosphere at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.
“I feel extremely privileged to receive the Goldwater honorable mention award," Burleigh said. "My Goldwater peers' successes are simply incredible, and I am honored and grateful to be counted among them.”