Three Iowa State students named Goldwater Scholars

AMES, Iowa — Three Iowa State University students have been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering in the United States. The scholarships are awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in STEM research.

A total of 396 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,343 applicants nationwide.

Iowa State candidates are selected by a faculty committee coordinated by Laura Good, assistant director for nationally competitive awards.

Iowa State’s 2020 Goldwater Scholars are:

  • Madeline Farringer, junior in biochemistry from Freeport, Illinois, will pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. Her goal is to lead an academic lab that conducts research on parasite cellular biology using functional genomics.
  • Divyesh Kumar, junior in chemical engineering from Ames, will pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. in neuroscience. He plans to perform research on stem cell therapies for the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
  • Behnia Rezazadeh Shirazi, junior and triple-major in biology, biophysics and biochemistry from Shiraz, Iran, will pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. His goal is to perform translational research through the National Institutes of Health on innovative techniques for the prognosis and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The one-year scholarships are available to juniors and the two-year scholarships are available to sophomores. They cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. 

Iowa State’s Goldwater Scholarship Campus Committee included Kent Kerby, assistant dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Gloria Starns, associate teaching professor of mechanical engineering; Eric Underbakke, assistant professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; Kevin Schalinske, professor of food science and human nutrition; and Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research coordinator.

Research, scholarship opportunities

Any ISU student interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship should contact Laura Good, assistant director for nationally competitive awards, at

To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities, contact Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research coordinator, at