As a Student Scholar Ambassador for almost two years, junior biochemistry and molecular biology major Edena Khoshaba was regularly informed about new and emerging scholarship opportunities. Still, she hesitated to apply to the Goldwater Scholarship, thinking it would be a long shot.

Edena Khoshaba ’21, Chapman’s First Goldwater Scholar

“I wasn’t going to apply, but Vidal Arroyo – one of my mentors – really encouraged me and pushed me to do it,” Khoshaba said.

It’s a good thing he did. Last month, Khoshaba received the news that she was one of 396 college students across the country to be selected for the 2020-2021 Goldwater Scholarship, the very first winner from Chapman University. This will help her pay for tuition, fees, books, and room and board for her senior year.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. It seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

Khoshaba presenting research at the end of Chapman’s SURF program in the summer of 2018

Khoshaba was able to stand out in her application in large part due to her extensive experience with undergraduate research. In her years at Chapman, she has worked in four different research laboratories and has completed summer programs at the Baylor College in Houston and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. She has researched metabolic pathways for drug clearance in the brain and neural gene expression patterns, and has most recently been involved in a research consortium named Reducing Ethnic Disparities in Acute Leukemia (REDIAL).

“I hope to get my physician scientist degree and someday lead a translational research laboratory for improving treatments and outcomes of pediatric cancer at an academic research hospital,” Khoshaba shared.

As a science major with a writing minor, she also aspires to find new and innovative ways of “bridging science and communications together,” and making the public more aware of what is happening in the sciences.

“People often misinterpret science, and it leads to mistrust. This discrepancy is definitely on my radar,” Khoshaba said.

Khoshaba is grateful for the Goldwater Scholarship for helping her pursue these goals, gain more name recognition and make her a competitive applicant to medical school and graduate school.

Khoshaba at the Baylor College of Medicine for their summer research program in 2019

She also appreciates the support she has had and continues to have at Chapman from her professors and mentors at Schmid including Dr. Schwartz, Dr. Ogba, Dr. Rowland-Goldsmith, Dr. Lopes, and Dr. Mehvar. In addition to learning STEM, Khoshaba expressed how much she has learned from her Leadership professors about how to “be a person.”

“My professors there have also molded me into the person I am. Outside of just being studious, it’s super important to understand yourself and the world around you, and to hone in on utilizing your strengths to help others,” Khoshaba said.

Khoshaba advises students who are interested in applying to “get involved in research early” and then to just “go for it. Apply. Don’t let applications discourage you because you never know.”

Are you interested in applying to the Goldwater Scholarship or another scholarship or fellowship? Contact the Center for Undergraduate Excellence at or stop by our office for more information and guidance!