Two UNC Juniors Honored by Goldwater Program

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program has named a UNC junior a 2016 Goldwater Scholar. Another junior received honorable mention from the program.

Chiara Pancaldo Salemi

Chiara Pancaldo Salemi

Chiara Pancaldo Salemi is among 252 students who excelled academically and who plan to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, engineering or computer disciplines. She will receive up to $7,500 per year for eligible educational expenses.

Mike Lebhar received honorable mention. Salemi and Lebhar were chosen from a field of 1,150 students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

Salemi is double majoring in physics and mathematics. Her research in nuclear and particle physics has taken her around the world. Salemi just returned from a semester abroad in Geneva, where she analyzed data from the ATLAS detector, used in the search for fundamental particles, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN.

She also spent a summer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, where she completed a research internship on a neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment. She has presented her work at talks at the Berkeley lab, at CERN and at the American Physical Society Conference. She plans to attend graduate school and study nuclear particle physics.

Mike Lebhar

Mike Lebhar

Lebhar is majoring in biomedical engineering with minors in chemistry and neuroscience. He hopes to earn his doctoral degree and one day design artificial organs as tools for experimentation and drug screening.

He is doing research on a “colon-on-a-chip” in vitro model of the colon functions. He is characterizing how well this model mimics a real colon and will then use the model to explore various questions about colon physiology.

Congress established the Goldwater scholarship program in 1986 to honor the late Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. The first awards were given in 1989.