Junior biochemistry and molecular biology major, Edena Khoshaba, was selected as Chapman University’s first Goldwater Scholar. This scholarship will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board for Khoshaba’s senior year.
A Highly Competitive Scholarship
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to sophomores and juniors seeking advanced research degrees in mathematics, science, and engineering. Students must be nominated by their university to advance to the scholarship, and Chapman is only allowed to nominate four students a year. 1,343 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students were nominated to compete for the 2020 Goldwater scholarships by 461 academic institutions. Khoshaba is one of 396 college students from across the United States to receive the 2020-21 Goldwater Scholarship.
Plans to Pursue Pediatric Cancer Research
Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree, Khoshaba hopes to pursue her M.D./Ph.D. in Cancer Biology to lead a translational research laboratory for improving treatments and outcomes of pediatric cancer at an academic research hospital.
“The fact that there is always something more to learn, improve, and complete is appealing to me about research,” she explained. “Education is an ongoing activity, and research enables me to learn more about intriguing projects that I can pour my heart into.”
In her freshman year at Chapman, she worked with Dr. Reza Mehvar from Chapman’s School of Pharmacy, looking at metabolic pathways for drug clearance in the brain. During her sophomore year, she conducted research with Dr. Patricia Lopes in Schmid College of Science and Technology to learn more about the neural gene expression patterns associated with parental behavior by examining Japanese Quail. In the summer of 2019, she was accepted to a summer internship to work with Dr. Philip Lupo and Dr. Austin Brown at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. The research at Baylor was part of a larger research consortium named Reducing Ethnic Disparities in Acute Leukemia (REDIAL). When she returned from Houston, Khoshaba was able to continue working with the consortium at Children’s Hospital Orange County.
Mentored by Chapman’s First Rhodes Scholar
Biochemistry and molecular biology alumnus, Vidal Arroyo ‘19, who was Chapman’s first Rhodes Scholar, was close friends with Khoshaba and encouraged her to apply for the Goldwater. “[Vidal] is one of my close friends and mentors that has really guided me through my whole Chapman experience and professional development. I cannot thank him enough for always providing guidance and encouraging me to believe in myself,” shared Khoshaba. Arroyo previously interned with Dr. Lupo and Dr. Brown at Baylor School of Medicine, paving the way for Edena to join their team.
How to Become a Goldwater Scholar
The Goldwater Foundation looks to identify and support undergraduates who are intellectually curious and show exceptional promise of becoming the leading researchers in their given field. “The best way they can see this is through the student’s research,” explains Julye Bidmead, Ph.D., the Director of Chapman’s Center for Undergraduate Excellence. “I started working with Edena very early in the process, and she worked incredibly hard on drafting and revising her essays and research proposal for the application.”
Both Dr. Bidmead and Khoshaba encourage students interested in applying for the Goldwater scholarship to start getting involved with research early and identify faculty mentors to offer guidance. The Center for Undergraduate Excellence offers assistance throughout the application process.
Support from her STEM Community
Khoshaba would like to thank Dr. Mehvar, Dr. Lopes, Dr. Maduka Ogba, Dr. Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, and Dr. Elaine Schwartz, who played key roles in her development as a science student. “I was convinced that a smaller institution was the right choice for me, so I could get to know the wonderful faculty,” she expressed, “The homey, close-knit atmosphere and energy of Chapman is unmatched.”
“Receiving the prestigious Goldwater is recognition of Edena’s dedication towards the pursuit of new knowledge,” says Dr. Elaine Schwartz, Assistant Dean of External Relations for Schmid College of Science and Technology, “What sets Edena apart is her desire and ability to communicate and share that knowledge with others, as she has illustrated through her many leadership activities and important role as a supplemental instructor in Schmid. We could not be more proud!”
She also credits her success to her two mentors Dr. Lupo and Dr. Brown, at Baylor College of Medicine, who have opened many doors for her future. “They are all amazing mentors and professors,” she shared, “I greatly appreciate the time and effort they put into us as students.”
Making Mom and Dad Proud
Last but certainly not least, Khoshaba thanked her parents, “Paving a life based on the importance of education and hard work, my parents taught me that these values serve as a pioneer for my future.” Khoshaba is the daughter of a physician and software engineer who immigrated to the United States. “The triumph of my parents through their journey as immigrants to the United States astounds and inspires me to be committed to my education.”
When asked what it means to her to receive this scholarship she remarked, “It is nice to be recognized nationally because it gives me hope that I can matriculate into competitive M.D./Ph.D. programs when I apply and make my parents proud!”