ORIE junior wins Goldwater Scholarship

By: Chris Dawson

ORIE third-year student Kiran Chandrasekher  ’25 has won a 2024 Goldwater Scholarship.

The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships offered to undergraduates in the US pursuing careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

For a student to be considered for the Goldwater Scholarship, which honors former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, their name must be put forth by their undergraduate institution. This year, 446 academic institutions nominated 1,353 science, engineering, and math students. Of this group of nominees, 438 were chosen as 2024 Goldwater Scholars.

Chandrasekher, who is from the San Francisco Bay area of California, has been working in the computational biology lab of associate professor Philipp Messer for two years as an undergraduate researcher. She is also a teaching assistant in an engineering probability and statistics class. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, mentors high school students through Girls Who Code, and volunteers with Cornell Votes.

Chandrasekher’s career aspirations include earning a Ph.D. in computational biology and, possibly, a medical degree. She is interested in developing and applying machine learning and statistical modeling to analyze data related to public health. Her application was supported by a letter from Professor Philipp Messer of Computational Biology.

Chandrasekher’s parents met at Cornell, but she says that this was not her reason for choosing Cornell. “For me, the ratio of men to women in the engineering college was an important factor,” Chandrasekher said. “I also love the environment at Cornell and I knew that I wanted to study some combination of math and biology and Cornell offered some great ways to do that.”

She is thrilled to have been chosen for a Goldwater Scholarship. “They told us exactly when they would be sending the email with the decision and sure enough it came exactly when they said it would and the very first line began with the word ‘Congratulations’ so I knew right away I had gotten it,” Chandrasekher said. “I was so excited!”

The Goldwater Scholarship Program covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

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