Rice undergrads Lee, Tzouanas and Wat win prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

Hendricks receives honorable mention

Rice undergraduates Juhye Lee, Stephanie Tzouanas and Jeanette Wat are among 282 American students named Goldwater Scholars for 2012 by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Lisa Anne Hendricks received an honorable mention.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. 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.

Juhye Lee


Juhye Lee

Lee, a Sid Richardson College junior from Mountain View, Calif., is a Century Scholar majoring in biochemistry and cell biology. Since her freshman year, she has conducted research on protein engineering and labeling of newly synthesized proteins in the lab of Jonathan Silberg, assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology. Lee also spent a summer working with James Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, and co-authored two publications with Silberg and Tour.

“Because of my research experience at Rice and with Dr. Silberg, I have been able to prepare myself for graduate-level research, and applying for the Goldwater and writing the proposal was possible only because of these wonderful experiences,” Lee said.

Lee also received the Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, the most prestigious study-abroad award offered by the university, and will spend the summer conducting an independent research project on protein folding at University College of London.

Additionally, she serves as executive editor of Catalyst, the Rice undergraduate research journal, volunteers for the Crisis Intervention of Houston suicide hotline and plays violin with the Texas Medical Center Orchestra. After graduating from Rice, she plans to obtain a dual medical and philosophy doctorate in biochemistry and focus her research on the pathology and pathogenesis of disease.

Stephanie Tzouanas

Stephanie Tzouanas

Tzouanas, a Jones College sophomore from Houston, is majoring in bioengineering and minoring in anthropology and global health technologies. A Century Scholar, she has conducted bone-regeneration research in the lab of Antonios Mikos, the Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, since the summer after her junior year of high school and has co-authored three published papers with Mikos’ group.

Last summer, a Global Engineering Research Scholarship from Rice enabled Tzouanas to conduct independent research on angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, as it pertains to bone regeneration in the Tissue Modulation Laboratory at the National University of Singapore.

“From the formative experiences I had in two leading laboratories a world apart, I realized that I find bone regeneration research fascinating,” she said.

Tzouanas co-chairs the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership’s Engineering Houston’s Future Conference. She serves as vice president for the Rice Biomedical Engineering Society and the Rice Society of Women Engineers, and she is the Class of 2014 Representative to the Centennial Commission Advisory Board. She also volunteers at Texas Children’s Hospital and mentors the hospital’s high school advisory board.

Tzouanas plans to pursue a doctorate in bioengineering to develop novel techniques to promote bone regeneration and treat hard-to-heal bone defects.

“Having always been fascinated by the prospect of augmenting the regenerative capacities of the body, I know I can make the most of my engineering background by pursuing a career in medical research and tackling the unique challenges of bone regeneration,” she said. “I’m incredibly honored to have been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship.”

Jeanette Wat

Wat, a Martel College sophomore from Houston, is majoring in biochemistry and cell biology, chemistry and psychology.

Jeanette Wat

Having performed research in different areas in the biological sciences since high school, she is particularly interested in the work she did in genetics.

“I enjoyed research at the DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center-Baylor College of Medicine to study the interaction of specific genetic variants with treatment effectiveness for cocaine dependence,” Wat said. “We used TaqMan and fragment analyses to look at single nucleotide polymorphisms and variable number tandem repeats of genes in people undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence.

“We hope this will identify people who respond to certain treatments (sometimes placebo, too) and pave the way for discovery of new drugs for treatment of cocaine addiction.”

Interested in science outreach and community service, Wat is active in tutoring younger students, especially on mathematics, chemistry and the biological sciences.

She was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in 2009 and served as an adviser for the program in 2010. Upon graduation, she will pursue a doctorate in human genetics, with a focus on genetics and the development of new diagnostics for the treatment of disease.

Lisa Anne Hendricks

Lisa Anne Hendricks

Lisa Anne Hendricks

Hendricks, a Weiss College junior from Los Alamos, N.M., is majoring in electrical and computer engineering.

Since her sophomore year, she has conducted research on the photo response of graphene in the lab of Junichiro Kono, professor of electrical and computer engineering and of physics and astronomy.

In addition to working on the Quick Urban Industrial Complex Dispersion Modeling code at Los Alamos National Lab, Hendricks has participated in research at the University of Michigan Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.

“More than anything else, this honor has encouraged me to continue to pursue a research career,” Hendricks said. “This award reminds me that what I can do as an electrical engineer is of importance to others and that I should continue to work toward my goal of becoming a research engineer.”

Committed to mentoring, Hendricks assists underclassmen engineers through the Society of Women Engineers and reaches out to high school students as a volunteer for DREAM, Designing with Rice Engineers-Achievement through Mentorship. Hendricks is interested in fabrication of nanoscale electronic devices and will pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering after graduating from Rice.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency that honors the late Barry M. Goldwater, who represented Arizona in the U.S. Senate. The organization’s goal is to help outstanding students pursue research careers in mathematics, science and engineering.


About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.