KU students from Lawrence, Olathe selected as Goldwater Scholars

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University of Kansas juniors Cecilia Paranjothi, of Lawrence, and Kit Savoy, of Olathe, have been chosen as Goldwater Scholars.

Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering are eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to their career goals and research experience and three faculty recommendations.

Paranjothi, a Free State alum and daughter of Krishnan and Adrienne Paranjothi, plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry and a career in inorganic chemistry with the goal of improving efficiency of sustainable sources of energy, according to a KU news release.

Paranjothi actually did not enjoy chemistry during high school but got very interested in it during her freshman year in college. She is now part of a research lab led by James Blakemore, associate professor of chemistry.

She studies the behavior of various uranium complexes, “which is motivated by the need for advances in the processing of spent nuclear fuel,” according to the release.

Savoy, the child of John and Heidi Savoy, graduated from Olathe North High School and is majoring in biological sciences and minoring in chemistry and theatre.

“Receiving this award has improved my sense of competence in pursuing my passion, keeping me excited to continue exploring in the field of microbiology,” they said in the release.

Savoy studies under Benjamin Sikes, KU associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. They plan to pursue a doctorate in microbiology and conduct, facilitate and share research in microbiology as a principal investigator, according to the release.

Paranjothi is also the recipient of the Jack and Carolyn Landgrebe Research Scholarship, the Leland and Jill Weigel Scholarship, the WCC Eli Lilly Travel Award, a 2023 and 2024 Undergraduate Research Award, the Bricker Summer ChemScholar Research Stipend and a KU Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship, according to the release.

Savoy is also a KU BioScholar, the recipient of a 2023 and 2024 Undergraduate Research Award, a Courtwright Award finalist in 2023 and 2024, and a KU Chancellor’s Merit Scholar, according to the release.

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