Two Georgia Tech Students Win Goldwater Scholarships

Two undergraduates from Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering have been named 2011 Goldwater Scholars.

Chun Yong
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Chun Yong, a junior biomedical engineering student from Suwanee, Ga., was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. 

Allison Del Giorno, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering, and Chun Yong, a junior biomedical engineering student, were awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. Del Giorno will also receive the scholarship for her senior year.  Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded a total of 275 scholarships to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

It’s clear why Georgia Tech’s Del Giorno and Yong were recommended for and honored with the Goldwater Scholarship.

Del Giorno, a Georgia Tech President’s Scholar, has held a National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Training Award at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and another at the National Institute of Bioengineering and Biomedical Imaging.  She received a Northrop Grumman Engineering Scholarship upon entering Georgia Tech.  Del Giorno is studying electrical engineering approaches to the nervous system, specifically investigating the spatiotemporal electrical properties of neurons that control respiration.

Once finished with her undergraduate studies, Del Giorno plans to pursue a doctorate in computational neuroscience to conduct neuroscience research focused on fundamental discoveries for clinical applications.  

"I feel so blessed that I was chosen for the Goldwater Scholarship,” said Del Giorno, a native of Eldersburg, Md. “I have amazing family, friends and professors who continue to encourage and guide me as I pursue a career in the neuroscience field."

Another Goldwater Scholar, Yong has received many accolades during his time at Georgia Tech. He was honored as a 2010 Petit Research Scholar and also won several President’s Undergraduate Research Awards. Yong participated in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates and held a Russ Bell Undergraduate Research Scholarship. This summer, he will be attending the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships program.

Yong is co-founder of a new Biomedical Research and Opportunities Society, executive vice president of the American Medical Student Association and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

In 2003, Yong and his family moved to Suwanee, Ga., after living in Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. He is providing for his family as well as doing research, which focuses on insulin-dependent diabetes. He has worked with Professor Athanassios Sambanis’ Lab in the Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech to develop cell-delivering microcapsules for the treatment of diabetes.

In addition to Del Giorno and Yong, Georgia Tech’s Katy Hammersmith, a biomedical engineering sophomore, and Jason Frieman, an aerospace engineering junior, received Honorable Mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

Georgia Tech can nominate only four students for the Goldwater Scholarship, and it is unusual for all to receive recognition as they did this year, said Karen Adams, interim director of the Fellowship Office at Georgia Tech.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.