Two students affiliated with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have been named winners of 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, one of the most prestigious awards in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences.

Four students in total from UW-Madison received the honor. Each American university may nominate up to four undergraduates for the award each year. It is particularly special that all four of UW–Madison’s nominees this year were chosen to receive scholarships, says Julie Stubbs, director of UW’s Office of Undergraduate Academic Awards.

“I’m so proud of the four scholars and our university,” Stubbs says. “Elizabeth, Mitchell, Mostafa and Stella’s success with the Goldwater Scholarship is a testament to their intrinsic motivation and drive, but also reflective of a campus culture that supports undergraduate research.”

The four UW–Madison students are among 396 Goldwater Scholars named this year out of 1,343 college sophomores and juniors nominated by 461 academic institutions.

Goldwater Scholarships support undergraduates in the last two years of their bachelor’s degree programs. A sophomore who is a Goldwater Scholar receives up to $7,500 in each of the next two academic years. A junior who is a Goldwater Scholar receives up to $7,500 for the senior year of study.

The School of Medicine and Public Health-affiliated students are:

Stella Ma

Stella Ma
Stella Ma

Junior Stella Ma, of Madison, Wisconsin, will graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and nutritional sciences, and honors in research. As a rising high school senior and incoming college freshman, Ma spent summers working in the lab of Professor Emery Bresnick in the Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology. As an undergraduate, she has conducted research in two laboratories simultaneously for over two years.

In Professor Anna Huttenlocher’s lab in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Ma studies innate immune system interactions with wounds and cancer, earning authorship on an in-progress manuscript.

In chemistry Professor Helen Blackwell’s lab in the Department of Chemistry, Ma studies the chemistry of bacterial communication in the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and is currently working on a co-authored manuscript.

Additionally, Ma initiated a collaboration between the two laboratories, investigating the role of monocytogenes communication in infection. She has received research fellowships from the Biochemistry Department, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the Provost’s Office.

Ma plans to pursue an MD-PhD in immunology and conduct research on cancer immune-system interactions.

Elizabeth Sumiec

Elizabeth Sumiec
Elizabeth Sumiec

Junior Elizabeth Sumiec, of Sussex, Wisconsin, will graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and certificates in global health and development economics. Sumiec has been engaged in research since her freshman year.

For two years, she has worked in the laboratory of human oncology Professor Zachary Morris at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, where she collaborates on four projects. She is chiefly responsible for one of those projects, an investigation into the potential therapeutic interaction of radiation therapy and a novel GIFT4 B cell therapy.

She received the Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship as a sophomore and is scheduled to present her work at an upcoming meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. She also is co-author on two manuscripts, one of which was recently submitted to the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Sumiec plans to pursue an MD-PhD in cancer biology.

By Doug Erickson, University Communications