College of LAS student honored with Goldwater scholarship

Sylvia E, a junior, plans to study early development
Sylvia E
Sylvia E (Photo provided.)

College of LAS student Sylvia E was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship, which is granted to individuals for their potential to contribute to the advancement of research in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Goldwater, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program encourages the continued development of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to sophomores and juniors from the U.S. who intend to pursue doctorates. The scholarship provides recipients $7,500 annually towards undergraduate tuition, fees, books or room and board. 

E is a junior majoring in brain and cognitive science and philosophy. A graduate of Parkway Central High School, she is from Chesterfield, Missouri. She plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive science/psychology. Her research focuses on understanding early lexical-semantic development by computationally modeling behavioral data from infants and young children. Under the direction of electrical and computer engineering professor Ujjal Kumar Bhowmik, she was part of an undergraduate team that designed a machine learning pipeline to improve handheld object detection in computer vision models. She has worked at the Brown University Language and Thought Lab and is a member of the Learning and Language Lab at Illinois, where she works with models of children’s conceptual development under Dr. Jon A. Willits. This summer, she plans to conduct neural, behavioral and computational studies of infant language learning at the University of British Columbia through the Fulbright-Mitacs Globalink Program. 

Nationally, 438 students were chosen from the 1,353 nominees to receive the $7,500 award. The University of Illinois is one of only eight institutions with five awardees.

Four others at the U of I were also recipients of the scholarship. They include Daniel Feng, Alice Gao, Amelia Korveziroska, and Riley Trendler.

“Every year I tell our students applying for the Goldwater Scholarship that with the caliber of our students, securing one of the nomination slots from the University of Illinois is their biggest challenge,” said David Schug, the director of the National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois. “That certainly bore out with all five of our nominees selected for the scholarship — the most in the country.”

News Source

Maeve Reilly, Illinois News Bureau