UK sophomore Isha Chauhan named Goldwater Scholar

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2022) The Office of National Competitive Awards at the University of Kentucky has announced that British sophomore Isha Chauhan, of LaGrange, Ky., has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the largest undergraduate scholarship of its kind in the fields of natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Chauhan is one of 417 students selected nationwide to receive the honor, from an estimated group of more than 5,000 students.

Chauhan is majoring in biology, on an ecology and evolutionary biology track, at the College of Arts and Sciences and Lewis Honors College.

While she has had an interest in biology since a young age, Chauhan says she discovered her love for ecology and evolutionary biology after arriving in the UK. She took that love from the classroom, to the field, and now, to the lab.

In the UK, she completed her evolutionary research by exploring hybridization in lemurs. Last summer, she had the opportunity to complete a National Science Foundation for Undergraduates (REU) research experience with the University of Vermont’s Lockwood Lab — an experience she says solidified her passion for evolution and biology of ecology.

She is currently conducting research in cardiovascular disease at the UK College of Medicine with her mentor, Gregory Graf, Ph.D. She plans to use the Goldwater Fellowship to expand her career in research.

“I was so grateful for each of these opportunities to introduce me to the versatile world of biology,” Chauhan said. “The Goldwater Fellowship will allow me to conduct independent research, connect with mentors who can better help me understand graduate school, and ultimately work toward my goal of becoming a biology teacher.”

Chauhan’s current research has been supported by the UK Cardiovascular Research Priority Area, Saha Cardiovascular Research Center and UK Department of Physiology.

“Dr. Graf and his entire lab, who frame my research at the UK College of Medicine, have been incredibly influential in defining my passion for research,” Chauhan said. “Dr. Graf not only pushes me to develop my potential within the lab, but also encourages me to pursue opportunities outside the lab. I am grateful to have her, Kori Williams, Brittney Poole and the rest of the lab as role models as I pursue my career. Also, Dr. Everson, my introductory biology teacher, was one of the first people to inspire my passion for teaching and has continued to encourage me since that very first semester.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Chauhan hopes to continue her education and eventually pursue a doctorate. She plans to continue her research in ecology and evolution and would eventually like to teach at the university level.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Educational Excellence Program was authorized by Congress to honor the former United States Senator who served the nation for 30 years. The program was designed to encourage and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards helps current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni to apply for scholarships and fellowships funded by external sources (such as a non-governmental foundation or government agency) outside of the university. These awards honor outstanding students across the country. Students interested in these opportunities are encouraged to contact the office well before the scholarship deadline.

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