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Two Caltech Undergraduate Students Awarded Goldwater Scholarships

Published on Thursday, June 16, 2022 | 1:57 pm
Tyler Colenbrander (l) and Laura Lewis (r). Credit: Caltech

Two Caltech students have been awarded with Goldwater Scholarships for the 2022–2023 academic year. Undergraduates Tyler Colenbrander and Laura Lewis were selected for the scholarship, alongside 415 other college students from across the United States.

The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation awards its scholarships to highly motivated students in order to encourage their research in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Academic institutions like Caltech can nominate up to five students, as long as one is a transfer. In 2022, 433 academic institutions nominated 1242 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students for the scholarship.

Engineering student Tyler Colenbrander currently works with former Caltech postdoc Jonathan Grandidier and Clara MacFarland (BS ’19) in the Solar Array Technology and Engineering Group at JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA. Colenbrander’s research focuses on perovskite solar cells (PSCs), which could help create ultralight, flexible solar arrays that work in conditions subject to radiation, extreme low temperature, and low light intensity, and could power future deep space missions.

“I’m grateful to be named a Goldwater Scholar. Receiving this honor has fueled my continued excitement in research. It’s really neat to be a part of the community of Goldwater Scholars and see the amazing research that other students my age are doing across the country. The Goldwater Scholarship selection process gave me a chance to pause and reflect on my Caltech journey. If I think about myself three years ago, I never could have imagined that I would be where I am today.”

Junior Laura Lewis has been conducting research in quantum computing and cryptography with Thomas Vidick, professor of computing and mathematical sciences, and former Caltech postdoc Alexandru Gheorghiu, now with ETH Zürich. Lewis’s research “focuses on methods for classically verifying quantum computations and the feasibility of implementing such protocols on current quantum computers,” she says. Her work, she says, provides “the first demonstration of an efficient classical verification protocol implemented on a current quantum device, and also serves to classically verify quantum advantage.”

“When I found out that I had won, I was very excited and honored to be selected for the Goldwater Scholarship. I’m extremely grateful to Caltech and the SURF [Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship] program for supporting my research throughout my years here. This award means a lot to me, and I would like to truly thank everyone who helped make it possible.”

With this latest round, Lewis and Colenbrander join 86 other Caltech students who have been awarded Goldwater scholarships since the program’s inception in 1986.

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