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Hayle Kim (top left), Kaitlin Mrksich (top right), Eric Tao (bottom right) and Eric Myzelev (bottom left) are Penn’s 2024 Goldwater Scholars (Photo from Penn Today).

Four Penn students have been awarded 2024 Goldwater Scholarships, which will grant them as much as $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation recognizes sophomore and junior students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. College juniors Hayle Kim, Eric Myzelev, Eric Tao, and Engineering junior Kaitlin Mrksich are among 438 students nationwide selected to receive the scholarship this year.

Sixty-three Penn students have been named Goldwater Scholars since the United States Congress established the award in 1986 in honor of former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.). The program has supported over 10,000 scholarships since its founding. This year, 1,353 students from across 446 institutions competed for the award.

Kim is majoring in neuroscience and studies the molecular basis of sleep maturation in the lab of Matthew Kayser at Penn Medicine. She co-founded the undergraduate chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, which focuses on the health challenges of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Hayle volunteers for the nonprofit organization One House at a Time and the emergency department in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Myzelev is majoring in mathematics with a minor in computer and information science and is submatriculating for a master’s degree. His research projects have focused on combinatorics and deep learning. Eric is also an event supervisor for Science Olympiad at Penn and a problem writer for the Canadian Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad. 

Tao is majoring in cognitive science, mathematics, and logic with a focus on language and the mind. He co-founded the Penn Math Contest, which encourages high school students to be engaged in mathematics. Tao is a research assistant under Marc Schmidt, where he uses multimodal mating displays in brown-headed cowbirds to study the neuroscience of social behavior. He also is a teaching assistant in the Penn Mathematics Department. 

Mrksich is a bioengineering major and president of the Biomedical Engineering Society. As a research assistant under Michael J. Mitchell, she studies the ionizable lipid component for mRNA delivery. Mrksich is a member of the Kite and Key Society, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and the Sigma Kappa sorority. In addition, she volunteers through the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project for high school students in the West Philadelphia area. 

All four students plan to pursue graduate degrees following the completion of their undergraduate careers.