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Two UGA undergraduates named Goldwater Scholars

Alan Flurry

Claire Bunn and Yoong “Terry” Phang are among 410 undergraduates across the nation to be recognized as Barry Goldwater Scholars in 2021, earning the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

Bunn, from Marion, Arkansas, is a third-year Foundation Fellow and Stamps Scholar majoring in genetics and minoring in statistics. Phang, from Cumming, is a third-year majoring in physics and mathematics with a focus on condensed matter physics. Both are in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences:

Both Bunn and Phang faced obstacles in their journeys to undergraduate research.

Bunn was raised in a rural community in Arkansas and had no exposure to scientific research prior to college.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunities afforded to me in college,” she said. “I was able to begin research early on with the support of amazing mentors. On campus, I am careful to work toward my own goals while intentionally helping others to reach theirs.”

Having lived and attended school in both the United States, a developed country, and Malaysia, a developing country, Phang recalls the stark differences in the technology and other resources available for STEM education in each school system. As a student in the U.S., he read studies describing the detrimental effect of insufficient resources on student interest in STEM fields within developing countries.

“At UGA, I am striving to increase student retention in STEM fields through my teaching, mentoring and volunteering roles, while creating a culturally inclusive learning environment,” he said. “I hope that my work as a Malaysian American scientist will inspire people of many backgrounds to pursue an education and career in STEM.”

Congratulations to these fantastic students, their families and friends, and the faculty members who are guiding them along their way. Continued best wishes on an outstanding academic journey for these Franklin College stars of tomorrow.


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