Two CC Students Named 2023 Goldwater Scholars

John Lê '24 and Victoria Rosa '24 are pictured in Barnes Science Hall on April 26, 2023. Photo by Murphy Brasuel '96.
John Lê '24 and Victoria Rosa '24 are pictured in Barnes Science Hall on April 26, 2023. Photo by Murphy Brasuel '96.

Victoria Rosa ’24 and John Lê ’24 are two of 413 students across the country to be named 2023 Goldwater Scholars. This esteemed award is given annually to college sophomores and juniors who are pursuing research careers in the engineering, mathematics, or natural science fields. Only five students from Colorado were selected as Goldwater Scholars this year.

“The engagement between students and faculty on meaningful research is made possible by a variety of funding sources, including the Faculty and Student Collaborative Grant and Venture Grants, which results in the ability to nominate four very strong candidates for the Goldwater Scholarship every year,” says Goldwater Campus Representative Murphy Brasuel ’96, associate professor of analytical chemistry and Bridge Scholars program director. “The opportunities on campus allow students to get early experience in research which open doors for opportunities off campus. It is wonderful that both of the CC Goldwater Scholars selected this year are CC Bridge Scholars.”

Lê, a math and physics double major and German studies minor, says he is truly grateful to be awarded the Goldwater. “This award does not only recognize my work at CC, but also recognizes my professors, mentors, family, and friends who have supported my academic pursuits. My foundation in physics research started in Dr. Light's plasma physics lab, and will expand to quantum materials research at Georgia Tech. As a QuestBridge and Bridge Scholar, I hope to blaze a path for students who are underrepresented in the natural sciences.”

Lê plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics after graduating, and hopes to eventually teach at the university level, conduct interdisciplinary research, and mentor underrepresented students in the STEM fields.

“John was a wonderful student in multivariable integral calculus, where I first met him as a freshman starting out on his major in mathematics,” says Jane McDougall, associate professor and co-chair of mathematics and computer science. “Now that he is a senior, I have seen John taking almost every opportunity to present research. I am no longer surprised when I learn that he is signed up for some interesting academic endeavor taking place on campus, and it is exciting to see his success with being awarded a Goldwater scholarship!”

“I am excited and incredibly grateful to be a Goldwater scholar,” says Rosa, a neuroscience major and biochemistry minor. “The guidance, expertise, and encouragement my professors and research mentors have shared with me has been instrumental in fostering my growth as a researcher. I will forever carry with me a deep appreciation for the time I have spent learning from and doing research with such unwaveringly supportive and inspirational scientists.”

Through the Summer Student Collaborative Research Programming, Rosa did research with Sally Meyer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, working to build a model that predicts molecular permeability through the blood-brain barrier.

“My experiences in Dr. Meyer’s lab sparked my passion for computational pharmacology research. A desire to further explore this field brought me to the Hu Li Systems Biology Lab at Mayo Clinic this past summer where I developed a deep learning algorithm to predict individualized ovarian cancer treatment response,” Rosa says. The work Rosa did at the Mayo Clinic served as the basis for her Goldwater research essay.

“The Goldwater Scholarship supports students with strong potential for scientific research.  I saw Victoria’s passion, talent, and motivation for research when she worked with me over the summer after her first year at CC. I am pleased that she has been recognized with the Goldwater Scholarship and know she will change the world!” says Meyer.

“My dream is to lead an interdisciplinary research laboratory in pharmaceutical discovery wherein I may continue pursuing science that betters human life at the intersection of computation and pharmacology,” says Rosa.

Both Lê, of Garden Grove, California, and Rosa, of Naperville, Illinois, participated in the pre-New Student Orientation Bridge Scholar Program in 2020.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program, which covers the cost of tuition, books, and room and board up to $7,500 a year, honors Senator Barry Goldwater and has offered awards since 1989. This year, over 1,260 students were nominated by 427 institutions, according to the scholarship’s website.

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