University of Pittsburgh
April 30, 2019

Four Pitt Students Earn 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships

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PITTSBURGH—Four University of Pittsburgh students have been named recipients of the 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, which support outstanding students who are pursuing careers in the fields of engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences.

The Goldwater Scholarship, established in 1986 by the U.S. Congress and named for Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, is granted in either a student’s second or third year and assists in covering tuition and other educational expenses for each student’s remaining period of study.

Institutions can only nominate four students each year, and this is just the third time in Pitt’s history, in addition to the years 1998 and 2000, that all four of its nominees have won the award. In total — including this year — Pitt has produced 60 Goldwater Scholars.      

“The University of Pittsburgh’s record of producing Goldwater Scholars begins with attracting the best and brightest students and then working tirelessly to position these students for success during their short time on campus,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “I am incredibly proud of this year’s winners and excited to see what they accomplish next!” 

Pitt’s 2019 Goldwater Scholars, all of whom are from Pennsylvania and will be seniors in fall 2019, study within the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Pitt’s honorees are:

Julia Driscoll of Pittsburgh. A chemistry major, she hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in organic chemistry, conduct research in the total synthesis of natural products and teach at a major research institution.

Driscoll works in the lab of Kazunori Koide, professor in the Department of Chemistry. She also serves as fundraising chair for The Imagination Project, a non-profit organization whose members visit pediatric hospital patients and members of the special needs community while dressed as characters from children’s stories.

Teja Peddada of Sewickley is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in math and statistics. He plans to obtain an MD/PhD in neuroscience and conduct translational research in psychopharmacology to better understand and find potential treatments for psychiatric disorders in an academic hospital setting.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, Peddada studied pharmacology at the University of Cambridge as Pitt’s 2018 Jesus College Cambridge Scholar. He also serves as president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness at Pitt.

Mariya Savinov of Upper St. Clair is majoring in physics and math. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, conduct research in dynamical systems with a focus in mathematical biology and teach at the university level.

At Pitt, she works in the lab of G. Bard Ermentrout, distinguished university professor in the Department of Mathematics. She is also the founder of Pitt’s TESSA Talks, which are interdisciplinary discussions that explore themes of technology, education, science, society and art. Her older brother, Andrew, also received the Goldwater Scholarship in 2009 while studying at Pitt.

Swapna Subramanian of Mechanicsburg is majoring in ecology and evolution and anthropology and minoring in chemistry. After graduation, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in evolutionary biology, conduct research in evolutionary adaptation to climate change and teach at the university level.

At Pitt, she works in the lab of Martin Turcotte, assistant professor of evolutional ecology. She also works in the Section of Herpetology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

“We were truly thrilled to find out that all four of our nominees were honored with this extremely competitive award. Mariya, Teja, Swapna and Julia are all outstanding scholars. Each of them is pursuing an innovative project — in fields ranging from mathematics to ecology to statistics to neuroscience to chemistry — that will robustly move these STEM fields forward,” said Brian Primack, dean of the University Honors College.

“Congratulations also to our scholar-mentor team — including Josh Cannon who mentored these particular students — on this remarkable success.” 

The University Honors College, which blends the scholarly advantages of a major research university with the benefits of an academically demanding small college, supported all four students throughout the application process. These students are part of a cohort of 496 peers nationwide to earn a Goldwater Scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year.


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Julia Driscoll

Teja Peddada

Mariya Savinov

Swapna Subramanian