For the first time in nearly two decades, two UNLV students in a single cycle are recipients of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the nation's premier undergraduate award in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering.
UNLV Honors College students Dylan Wallace and Michael Schwob are among just 496 scholarship recipients handpicked from a national field of competitors nominated by colleges and universities. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for sophomores and juniors to cover the costs of tuition, fees, books, and other expenses.
Schwob — a sophomore with a triple major in economics, math, and computer science — has a 3.942 GPA and is one of 62 scholars selected in his field of study. He has authored two submitted papers and worked on two additional research projects. Outside of class, Schwob tutors other students, participates in various campus organizations groups, works for UNLV’s Admissions Office, serves as an Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research, and plays recreational soccer.
As an undergraduate, Schwob has been involved in research on cells’ signaling pathways—the communication mechanisms that allow our body’s cells to send and receive messages with each other—to create more accurate models and help researchers better understand our bodies’ biological processes.
Schwob attributes his success to encouragement from his family, research advisor Justin Zhan, professors Bradley Wimmer and Rebecca Martin and Ian McDonough, Honors College dean Andrew Hanson, UNLV College of Hospitality dean Stowe Shoemaker, and UNLV vice president of research Mary Croughan.
“Given my aspiration to pursue a Ph.D. in statistics or biostatistics, this scholarship will aid my admission into some of the top graduate programs in the world,” said Schwob, who expects to graduate in May 2021. “This recognition provides motivation to continue my research career to improve the state of the nation’s public health.”
Wallace is an electrical engineering major with a 3.9 GPA. He has conducted numerous research projects involving robotics, and was part of a three-member team that won an international competition in China last year. Additionally, he has authored three publications with another in review. His academic plans include continued research, internships, and graduate school.
The junior, whose anticipated graduation date is May 2020, credits the support of his professors — including Paul Oh, Daniel Lofaro, Youngbum Jun, Don Sofge, and Junho Oh — with helping him clinch the prestigious Goldwater award.
“Winning the Goldwater Scholarship means a lot to me, as it provides validation that I am ready for graduate school and has helped show me that this is the path that I want to take with my career,” said Wallace, one of just 74 engineering awardees. “I am thankful for all of my mentors and advisors who have helped me with applying for this scholarship and for supporting my research experiences, as without them this achievement would not be possible.”
Andrew Hanson, acting dean of the Honors College, calls the Goldwater Scholarship the “gold standard for STEM students.” To qualify, students must have at least a 3.9 or higher GPA, have completed research work prior to applying, and have a commitment to earning a Ph.D. and going on to a research career.
“Not very many students tick all the boxes, but these two students are both exceptional. I am elated when we get one Goldwater Scholar per year; to get two in one year is truly fantastic,” Hanson said. “Beyond the outstanding individual accomplishments of Michael and Dylan, this national recognition affirms the growing number of undergraduates engaging in high-level research at UNLV. Really, the awards are one more significant indication of UNLV’s research trajectory and status as a Top Tier R1 institution.”