TAMS Named Scholarships 2019


Dr. Jannon Fuchs and TAMS Faculty Scholarship

This is a new scholarship sponsored by the parents of a TAMS student who were so impressed with their son’s research experience in the neuroscience lab of Dr. Jannon Fuchs that they endowed a scholarship to honor a TAMS student who has excelled in any of the life sciences.  The scholarship therefore speaks to the excellence of a superb student and that of an outstanding faculty mentor.

Julia Camacho

Julia Camacho is now the first recipient of the Fuchs and TAMS Faculty Scholarship. Working in the lab of Dr. Helen Wang, and drawing upon genetic and clinical data from patients, Julia has helped to develop a computational method—one utilizing artificial intelligence—to predict the development of secondary central-nervous-system cancer. She also determined how such factors as radiation doses, patient age, and single-nucleotides are vital to the process of predicting secondary cancers that emerge from chemotherapy.

James R. Miller / Texas Instruments Scholarship

The James R. Miller / Texas Instrument Scholarship honors first-year TAMS students. Dr. James R. Miller had been a high school teacher of gifted students before teaching at the college level. He wished to benefit students who were ready for greater academic challenge than that offered in most high schools in small towns and rural areas. 

Nathaniel Brown

Nathaniel is from Bridgeport, TX, which contains some 7000 residents; the high school there has some 484 students.  Nathaniel wrote in his application of his “desire for a community of peers dedicated to learning and collaborating in mathematical and scientific endeavors. He also stressed “a yearning for meaningful activities and clubs centered on STEM. Wanting more than the status quo available to him, Nathaniel took the bold step of enrolling in an online school (iUniversity Prep), which met more of his needs.  In turn, he has made his way to TAMS, in a community of equally ambitious and exceedingly intelligent peers.

Julian C. Stanley Award

This is a math-based competition, including emphasis on the place of mathematics in chemical and biological research

Jonathan Li

Jonathan’s professor of Multivariable Calculus noted that Jonathan scored 100% in just about every examination and ranked in the top 2 of all students the professor had encountered in his teaching career. Jonathan was also the most active participant in class, and listening to his mathematical thought process was—and here I quote the professor—“just a pure joy.”  Working with a fellow TAMS student under the direction of Dr. Farhad Shahrokgi (in the field of Graph Theory and Theoretical Computer Science), Jonathan suggested a solution to make “our greedy approximational algorithm linear in time.” He also improved the team’s solution by suggesting an iterative method that chooses the best solution, given a vertex.”

Newman Foundation Endowment for TAMS Early Research

The Newman Foundation Endowment supports outstanding work by early-research, first-year TAMS students.  Sumit is this year’s award winner.

Sumit Chakraborty

This past summer, Sumit’s work stood out among the extremely impressive endeavors of our early-research students.  He investigated the transmission and modification of sound waves through phononic crystals. Such research is critical for accomplishing the controlled transmission of sound underwater, as well as for improving the efficiency and accuracy of medical untrasound-scanning technology.  Summit sees himself eventually conducting next-generation research to accomplish viable underwater communication and achieve non-invasive ultrasound cancer-cell identification. Summit’s research mentor noted how very well Summit had worked with a 12-member research team, generating experimental results of significance to the group and likely meriting co-authorship of a journal article. 

Nipul Foundation Award

The Nipul Foundation Award emerges from an endowment to encourage research in the area of Neuroscience. 

Geoffrey Zhang

This past summer, Geoffrey Zhang distinguished himself in the neuroscience laboratory of Dr. Jannon Fuchs, who has spent many years exploring the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease.  Geoffrey studies ciliary structure in mice, with the hope of better understanding the role that cilia play in human neurodegenerative disease and treatment. With future research—both on the part of established scientists like Dr. Fuchs—and now newcomers to the field, like Geoffrey, we can expect major breakthroughs and advances.

Patel Family Foundation Scholarship in the Biological Sciences

Summer Research.

Utkarsh Singh

As described by Utkarsh, he this summer “integrated various bioinformatics methods toward understanding the genome structure and function of multipartite bacteria, all of this having pertinence for the “understanding of bacterial genome evolution.” Utkarsh undertook advanced responsibilities in preparing a manuscript for publication; to his credit is now co-author a forthcoming study at the journal Advances in Microbiology.  Beyond praising the STEM skills of Utkarsh, his mentor speaks—and I here quote--of Utkarsh’s “unique interpersonal and collaborative skills. He is always willing to help other students.  By his modest and helping nature, he quickly earned respect from others.” Such is the “whole person” that TAMS seeks to develop by cultivating technical achievement against a backdrop of social grace and personal maturity. 


Scott and Myra Stoll Scholarship

The Scott and Myra Stoll Scholarship recognizes a student who has excelled in all of the opportunities available through TAMS. Those can encompass research, academics, volunteerism, leadership, musical performance, and any other areas of personal or community development.

Smrithi Upadhyayula

In TAMS, Smrithi has been fully engaged: an aspiring physician, she has nonetheless developed communication skills through teen court and in the psychology lab of Dr. Casey Guillot. She has also led the TAS Chemistry Committee and volunteered with Forward Tutoring and IntelliChoice. Add to that her skill at flute concerto, her contributions to the Dull Roar orchestra, and her engagement with the Voices of TAMS.  One hall director writes as follows: “I believe that Smrithi is the epitome of what TAMS inspires all of its students to be: a student who exhibits no only scientific brilliance, but who is also communicative, innovative, and compassionate.” 

Steve & Kathy Weiner Research Scholarship

This award recognizes excellence in Computer Science or Other areas of Engineering.

Christopher Zhou

In the Computational Chemistry Lab of Dr. Thomas Cundari, Christopher has, in the words of his application, “examined the study and design of novel transition metal catalysts via the integration of quantum mechanical models and the creation of machine-learning algorithms. . . . . These algorithms are being designed to model specific chemical systems, potentially lowering the high computational cost of predicting the acidity of large metallic complexes.”  A manuscript is currently under revision at the request of a distinguished journal.

Zihan Zhao

Zihan describes how she “developed a general gene-based p-value adaptive-combination approach that detects novel disease-associated genes via publically available genome-wide association-study summary data.” Her original contribution was that of “implementing the statistical method with R programming, setting up simulation settings, and conducting real-data analysis.”  She thereby contributed to the creation of a method that possesses “improved statistical power” and that has implications for treating Type-2 diabetes. Her co-authored article is forthcoming in the journal Genetic Epidemiology.

TAMS CLASS of 2000 Perseverance Scholarship

This is the first year that TAMS, through the generosity of the TAMS Class of 2000, is able to offer a scholarship honoring a student who has displayed perseverance.

Alexei Ukraintsev

Alexei is among those who have been challenged by life’s vicissitudes.  In the face of obstacles, he has shown admirable perseverance and resilience.  All of you, though now young, will eventually face unexpected challenges, often not of your own making.  We can only hope that you will encounter those with grace and fortitude.  Would you therefore join me in commending Alexi for his having done so in recent times. He has thereby positioned himself for an all-in commitment to TAMS and to everything that the academy has to offer.

The TAMS Dean’s Scholarship

The TAMS Dean’s Scholarship recognizes but one TAMS student who has distinguished him or herself through superior research.

Kevin Yao

This year’s winner, Kevin Yao, has engaged in a host of research projects, in varied venues, and with extraordinary results.  Kevin has conducted research in the Physics Laboratory of Dr. Jose Perez.  The research has focused on the effect of electron irradiation of graphene, a very strong material that has immense potential in industry, especially relative to lithography and transistor and supercomputer manufacture and applications. Kevin suggested a self-directed alternative to the direction of his lab’s research, and he ended up achieving success sufficient to his being named a co-author of a publication that recently appeared in the journal Applied Surface Science.  
During the academic year, Kevin devoted some 20 hours a week to his research; last summer he spent up to 50 hours a week in the lab:  hence, another co-authored article that appeared in the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. As one might expect, Kevin has participated successfully in a host of Symposia- and Science-fair activities that led him, as well, to conduct independent research on machine learning for cancer-prediction applications.  He is currently patenting that work. Kevin’s mentor has attested that Kevin functions at the level of a third-year graduate student and that “his level of research and publication accomplishments would qualify him for a Ph.D. degree in our department.”

Tom Weiner Scholarship

This award, for entering TAMS juniors, recognizes leadership, superior academic accomplishment, and research prior to the start of TAMS.  We this year have two such awards for incoming TAMS students.

Danny Zhang

Danny has been active in his high school’s orchestra, where he was first-cellist and helped assure the cohesion of the varied members of the orchestra. Indeed, he played a key part in leading the members of that group to be named State Champions. This past summer he conducted research for 6 weeks in the Hepatology division of Northwestern University, to help resolve issues pertaining to fatty liver disease and its possible cures. 

Nikhil Garlapati

Nikhil excelled in Boy Scouts, at the same time as he was a leader of his high school’s robotics team. That team progressed to the “World’s Tournament,” in large measure because of Nikhil’s initiative. He excelled, moreover, at his city’s science fair by helping to design a prosthetic hand that operated by sensing material and grabbing it.  Such acumen—as exhibited by both Danny and Nikil—connotes interdisciplinary thinking that we look forward to having both students develop in TAMS.

Tom Weiner Student Life Scholarship

The Tom Weiner Student Life Award recognizes students for leadership among their peers. 

Ananya Kodali

As described in her application, Ananya not only participated in a clothes drive; she occasioned thousands of donations.  She not only donated blood, but recruited hundreds of donors. Such were just a few acts of her leadership.  Moreover, as Vice President of the TAMS Medical Society, she created new opportunities for shadowing and CPR certification; and as Production Chair for the immensely impressive magazine Stethoscope, she expanded what she calls “medical-humanities awareness.”  Moreover, as if those were not sufficient indicators of leadership, Ananya is a “Driving Tomorrow” director, focusing on care packages for the homeless. Such is the exemplary conscientiousness and commitment of this inspiring leader in the TAMS community.