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~Two Wellesley College Students Are Named Goldwater Scholars~

For immediate release:
April 23, 2002

CONTACT:
Arlie Corday,
781-283-3321 or 2373


WELLESLEY, Mass. - Two students at Wellesley College, junior Yolanda Y. Huang of San Jose, Calif., and Vermont native Julie A. Wright, a sophomore, have been named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars for the 2002-2003 academic year.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded 309 scholarships to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the 50 states and Puerto Rico. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,155 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred seventy-nine of the Scholars are men, 130 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Huang, the daughter of Tony and Cristine Huang of San Jose, Calif., is majoring in neuroscience with a physics minor. She is included on the National Dean's List, received First-Year Academic Distinction at Wellesley and has been named a 2002 Beckman Scholar. She has served as a research assistant in the lab of Professor Joanne Berger-Sweeney of Wellesley's Department of Biological Sciences.

"The main objective of the experiment is to determine whether sex differences exist during neurogenesis, the birth of cholinergic neurons in the mouse basal forebrain," Huang said. "Our lab believes that understanding the neurogenesis of the cholinergic basal forebrain will shed light on gender differences in disorders involving degeneration of this system, such as Alzheimer's disease and Down Syndrome."

Huang offered thanks to others for the accomplishment. "Besides my research professor, I want to give a special thanks to Laura Floerke-Nashner, a 2001 graduate who is currently still working in the lab who had helped me tremendously during my research project," she said. "Without her patient teaching and guidance, I would not be able to receive this award. During the final application polishing process, I had a great deal amount of assistance from Professor Wendy Bauer."

Huang has been a math department and an academic peer tutor through Wellesley's Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center. A graduate of Taipei First Girls' Senior High School, Taipei, Taiwan, where she earned the 1999 Academic Achievement Scholarship Award-Four Year College Division, she studied human physiology and general psychology during the summer of 2000 at the University of California, Berkeley. She also has been an assistant at Taipei's Veterans General Hospital, Neurological Institute.

Wright, the daughter of Laurie Wright of Post Mills, Vt., and David Wright of Thetford, Vt., was nominated for the award by Wellesley Professor Mary Allen, based on Wright's work in her research lab through Wellesley's National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) Summer Research Program.

"It was a very productive summer, one that I enjoyed so much I continued to do research during this school year," Wright said. "The award was given based on an essay about the research on cyanobacteria. I plan to pay for my tuition with the award, whether I remain at Wellesley next semester or go to the Semester for Environmental Science in Woods Hole, Mass."

Wright, majoring in biology, won the First-Year Chemistry Award and earned First-Year Academic Distinction. She graduated with honors in June 2000 from Thetford Academy earning several scholarships including the Frank and Olive Gilman Foundation Scholarship for science and the 1999 Bausch and Lomb science award.

In August 1998, she completed with honors the Woods Hole Science At Sea program. She has worked with the Lake Fairlee Association in Thetford, Vt., to reduce the Eurasian milfoil pest and has served as an aquatic ecology intern in the Biology Department at Dartmouth College. She also took part in the University of Vermont Governor's Institute of Vermont in Science and Technology.

She is founder and president of the Marine Biology Club, an Academic Peer Tutor and member of the Dance Collective at Wellesley.

Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 44 Rhodes Scholarships (6 of the thirty-two awarded in the United States in 2002), 39 Marshall Awards, and numerous other distinguished fellowships.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Founded in 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in liberal arts and the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students.

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