Three juniors selected as Goldwater Scholars

Three juniors at Washington University in St. Louis —John Georgiades, Shelei Pan and Kaung “Ken” Soe — have received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious award that honors students who conduct research in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

Georgiades (left), Pan and Soe

John Georgiades, a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry in Arts & Sciences, plans to use organic synthesis, biochemistry and structure-based drug design to develop new drug candidates. Georgiades is a research assistant in the lab of Timothy Wencewicz, associate professor of chemistry. In addition, Georgiades is co-director of the Washington University STEM Education Association, vice president of the Washington University Cancer Research Club, an organic chemistry learning assistant and a violinist with the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.

Shelei Pan, who is majoring in biology, on the neuroscience track, and Spanish in Arts & Sciences, plans to research cerebrospinal fluid handling in the developing brain to better understand and develop treatments for pediatric hydrocephalus. Pan is a research assistant in the lab of Jennifer Strahle, MD, an associate professor of neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and pediatrics​ at the School of Medicine. Pan published research that characterized cerebrospinal fluid circulation to specific functional areas of the neonatal brain and spinal cord. Pan also launched Made to Model, which designs clothes for children with disabilities. 

Kaung “Ken” Soe, a chemistry major, with a concentration in biochemistry, in Arts & Sciences, plans to research the mechanics of protein condensation and to identify better therapeutic targets to prevent neurodegeneration. Soe is a researcher in the lab of Meredith Jackrel, an assistant professor of chemistry. Soe has published and presented his research at multiple national and regional conferences. In addition, Soe is also a MARC uSTAR  fellow, a general chemistry peer tutor and a volunteer at the Siteman Cancer Center.

In all, 413 students were selected from a field of some 5,000 candidates. The award was established by Congress in 1986 to honor the legacy of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.