Four UT undergraduates receive national recognition from ‘ 14 Goldwater Scholarship Program

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program has recognized four University of Tennessee, Knoxville undergraduates!  

2014 Goldwater Scholar: Emma Hollmann is a junior Haslam Scholar studying Chemical Engineering. She works in Dr. Thomas Zawodzinski’s lab, studying state of change effects on the kinetics of vanadium redox flow batteries. Emma is a reviewer for Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research. She is also an Honors Ambassador and is an involved member of the Society for Women Engineers. She has also recently joined the efforts of UT’s Undergraduate Research Student Association (URSA). After graduation, Emma will pursue a PhD in chemical engineering.  

2014 Goldwater Honorable Mention: Chris Barnes is a sophomore Haslam Scholar double majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a Biomolecular Engineering concentration and Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology. Chris began research in Dr. Bin Hu’s lab as a senior in high school, working with the synthesis and testing of organic photovoltaic cells, specifically with regards to efficiency changes in response to decreased light intensity. Since his freshman year, he has worked in Dr. Eric Boder’s lab, working with FPLC protein purification and flow cytometry data in order to investigate altered specificity of protein switches using yeast surface display. In the summer after his freshman year, he had the opportunity travel to the Oregon Health & Science University to work in Dr. Martina Ralle’s lab, where he investigated the sub-cellular sequestration of copper in the later stages of Wilson’s disease. This work led Chris to further work with the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Labs.  Chris is the co-founder of TEDxUTK and a leader of the TEDxUTK team. He serves as a reviewer forPursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and has presented his research at the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. He is also fluent in German. After completing his studies at UT, Chris plans to pursue doctoral studies in biomolecular engineering.

2014 Goldwater Honorable Mention: Andrew Messing is a sophomore majoring in computer engineering with a focus on robotics and automation. He is an undergraduate research assistant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee’s Distributed Intelligence Laboratory. A native of Knoxville, he is captain of the University of Tennessee’s IEEE undergraduate robotics team; treasurer of the IEEE student chapter; and a mentor for FIRST Robotics 3824 high school team. Andrew is a UT Chancellor’s Honors Scholar, a 2013 Volkswagen Distinguished Scholar, and a member of UT Hillel and the Council for Undergraduate Research. His goal is to obtain a doctoral degree and work on interdisciplinary research that combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science.

2014 Goldwater Honorable Mention: Sahba Seddighi is a sophomore Haslam Scholar studying neuroplasticity with emphasis on neurodegenerative disease and applied neurolinguistics through the College Scholars Program. At UT, she has continued to pursue her avid interest in research through her work with the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Psychology, and Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. She also serves as the undergraduate student representative on the Chancellor’s Top 25 Initiative Research Advisory Committee, is the Sciences and Engineering Managing Editor for Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research, has served as chairman for the first annual UTK Brain Awareness Week, is a Biology Teaching Assistant, an involved member of the University of Tennessee Honors Council, an Honors Ambassador, a Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, and hopes to make lasting positive impact both on campus and in the community as a Haslam Scholar.  Sahba spent the summer after her freshman year as a research intern at the NIH National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and has just been named a 2014 Amgen Scholar.  She hopes that such opportunities, along with her experience at UT, will help focus her interests as she builds her research goals in hopes of pursuing an MD-PhD program in the near future. Sahba also plans to study abroad in various countries throughout her undergraduate career with the hopes of furthering her linguistic knowledge while researching at world-class facilities.


UT can nominate up to 4 undergraduates for the Goldwater Scholarship each year.  The ONSF facilitates the application process and relies on the standing UT Goldwater Selection Committee to make the final selection and nomination of its candidates.  The ONSF would like to recognize and say ‘thanks’ to this year’s committee members: Professor R.J. Hinde, Professor Masood Parang, Professor Remus Nicoara, and Professor Jon Camden.

Again, congratulations to Emma, Chris, Andrew, and Sahba for their remarkable achievements!

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.  The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.  For more information about the nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship program, visit; for guidance on applying for the Goldwater, visit the ONSF website, and contact UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF) at