LAUNCH Congratulates 4 Nominees for 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarship

LAUNCH: National Fellowships congratulates Brianna Bishop ‘23, Anita Xia Sumali ‘23, Bora Oztekin ‘22 and Ryan Rahman ‘22 for their selection as Texas A&M nominees for the 2021 Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation competition. 

Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to exceptional sophomore or junior undergraduates who intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

The Goldwater Foundation gave its first award in 1989 and has awarded more than $40 million in scholarships. Hundreds of scholarships are awarded each academic year to students who have impressive academic qualifications and merit, as the average awardee has a 3.9 GPA. The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Texas A&M University has produced 36 Goldwater Scholars since 1991. 

Brianna Bishop ’23, Chemistry

Brianna Bishop is a sophomore chemistry major from Spring, Texas. She is pursuing a minor in mathematics to enhance her abilities as a successful researcher. Bishop conducts research in Dr. Daniel Tabor’s group predicting chemical structures capable of efficient energy generation for solar cells.  Bishop has been a student worker at the Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center on campus for a year and a half, serving  veterans and dependents by educating them about campus resources available to them. Additionally, Bishop  plans awareness and social events for women veterans on our campus through the Aggie Women Veterans program. She is an active member in the Beta Omega chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for STEM majors, where she serves on the philanthropy and recruitment committees to assist the directors in planning and executing various events. Bishop was part of the Society of Women Engineers Outreach committee,  working with her team to travel to local College Station ISD elementary schools for lessons about STEM. After graduation from Texas A&M, Bishop plans to attend graduate school to earn her PhD in chemistry.

Anita Xia Sumali ’23, Biomedical Engineering

Anita Xia Sumali is a sophomore from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is currently a biomedical engineering major concentrating in biomechanics. Sumali conducts research in Dr. Andrew Robbins’ group developing a model for canine hip replacement.She previously did  research in Dr. Pushkar Lele’s lab to study Helicobacter pylori movement and contributed as an author to an eLife publication! She is also a year round intern in the Computational Biophysics Department at Sandia National Laboratories. Sumali is involved in many extracurricular activities such as the Global Engineering Bridges and the Texas A&M Club Swim Team. After graduation, Sumali plans to pursue either an MD/MS or MD/PhD dual degree in medicine and biomedical engineering. 

Bora Oztekin ’22, Computer Science

Bora Oztekin is a junior from Plano, Texas majoring in computer science with a minor in statistics. Oztekin is currently conducting research with Dr. Shuiwang Ji in the DIVE lab using machine learning to predict the chemical  properties of novel drugs to identify possible tuberculosis therapies. He has previously used his expertise in neural nets to model the effects of people’s movement on the spread of COVID-19 in the US, resulting in recommendations to the local government.  He was then recruited to study the effects of demographic factors on the spread of COVID-19 in India in collaboration with the World Bank. After graduation, Oztekin Plans on going to graduate school or finding an applied research job. He is interested in using neural nets and other machine learning tools to solve challenging new problems. Oztekin also plans on spending some time travelling to learn more about different cultures. Oztekin is on the board of a debate nonprofit in Orange County, California called the Orange County Debate League. Last summer he interned at Visa, and this summer he will be interning at NVDIA. 

Ryan Rahman ’22, Biology

Ryan Rahman is a junior from Lubbock, Texas majoring in biology with double minors in neuroscience and bioinformatics. Rahman conducts research in  Dr. Richard Gomer’s lab where he is identifying  the proteins or factors required to kill bacterial pathogens to develop novel therapeutics for tuberculosis and related diseases. His work is currently being written up in two manuscripts for publication, one as first author. Rahman is interested in the complexity of biological systems, including the brain, and is currently the President of the American Medical Student Association. He is a University Scholar and Beckman Scholar, sits on the Biology Honors Advisory Council, and in his free time he performs with Swaram A Cappella, a South Asian fusion a cappella team. After graduation, Rahman Plans on enrolling in medical school to earn an M.D/Ph.D and hopes to establish a translational research laboratory that uses clinical tools to develop novel therapeutics for disease. 

To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Goldwater Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visit


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