Three Johns Hopkins undergraduates named Goldwater Scholars

Award designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering

Stephen Filippone, Peter Kalugin, and Sandya Subramanian, undergraduate researchers at Johns Hopkins, are among the 271 students who have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2013–14 academic year. The funding the three students receive will help further their investigations in molecular dynamics, the biomedical science of disease, and development of a computational tool to help surgeons treat epilepsy.

The merit-based scholarships, which are given for one or two years, cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

The Goldwater Foundation, which grants the scholarships, is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. The program honoring the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Since the first awards were given in 1989, the foundation has awarded 6,550 scholarships worth approximately $40 million.

Filippone is a junior majoring in materials science and engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He is performing molecular dynamics simulations on polymer (amorphous) systems to investigate void growth morphology in the lab of Michael Falk, an associate professor of materials science and engineering. Polymers have applications in every technology from medicine to electronics. By better understanding the physics of their deformation, we can control their properties and make better devices. Filippone's past research includes summers spent at Vanderbilt and Northwestern universities studying ways to increase the flexural strength of cement to reduce the amount of reinforcement needed in construction, and studying the performance of graphene capacitors over large-area graphene. He hopes to pursue a doctorate in materials science and engineering. He is from Los Fresnos, Texas.

Peter Kalugin is a sophomore majoring in both molecular and cellular biology and mathematics in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. His research training in the cell biology of medical problems includes work in labs studying diabetes and polycystic kidney disease. During the 2012–13 academic year, Kalugin has been studying at the University of Oxford's St. Anne's College through the Hopkins St. Anne's, Oxford, Pre-Med Programs, which allow sophomores and juniors planning a career in medicine to spend a year abroad. Upon his return to Johns Hopkins in the fall, he will conduct research in the lab of Takanari Inoue, an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the School of Medicine. Kalugin aspires to be a physician-scientist to continue his research in biomedical science. He is originally from Russia and currently lives in Albuquerque, N.M.

Sandya Subramanianis a junior studying biomedical engineering and applied mathematics in the School of Engineering. She is working with Sridevi Sarma, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, to design a computational tool to assist clinicians in identifying the epileptogenic zone in patients with medically refractory epilepsy, or epilepsy that doesn't respond to medication. The team has applied for a provisional patent for the device for use in guiding surgical interventions. Subramanian plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering, with a focus on computational and analytic methods to solve biomedical problems. She is from Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.