The Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded honors for science and math excellence to three University of Richmond students.

University of Richmond junior Lillian Hughes, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, has received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the country’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, science and engineering. Hughes is majoring in chemistry with minors in music and physics. She is conducting research with chemistry professor Mike Leopold on wire electrode biosensors used in medical applications and developing sensors for explosive detection. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science.

Two students, Sara Camilli and Najwa Labban, received honorable mentions.

Camilli, a junior from Freehold, New Jersey, is majoring in biology and computer science. Her undergraduate research focuses on collecting and analyzing biological data in sponges with biology professors April Hill and Malcolm Hill. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or computational biology. 

Labban, a junior from Glen Allen, Virginia, is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and Arabic studies with a minor in mathematics. She is working with chemistry professors Mike Leopold and Julie Pollock to develop biosensors to help diagnose potentially life-threatening health concerns like sepsis. She plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in biochemistry.   

Goldwater scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of nearly 1,300 students who were nominated by the faculties of more than 450 colleges and universities nationwide. This year, 211 scholarships were awarded and 281 students were identified as honorable mentions.

“Having three University of Richmond students recognized among such a large and talented candidate pool is a testament to the University’s commitments to supporting undergraduate research and faculty mentorship,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships.

The University of Richmond has had 25 Goldwater scholarship recipients and eight honorable mentions since 1990.

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Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986 to foster and encourage excellence in science and mathematics. Honoring the late Arizona senator, the scholarships encourage American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.