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W&L’s Sarp Sahin ’26 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship Sahin is W&L’s first sophomore to receive the scholarship since 2009.

Sarp-Sahin-scaled-600x400 W&L’s Sarp Sahin ’26 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Washington and Lee University sophomore Sarp Sahin ’26 has been awarded a highly competitive Goldwater Scholarship to support a research career in science, mathematics and engineering. At W&L, Sahin is majoring in chemistry with a minor in data science. Sahin is a native of Plano, Texas, and graduated from Liberty High School.

The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) scholarships in the country and aims to support undergraduate sophomores and juniors who show promise of becoming research leaders in their respective fields and intend to pursue a doctorate degree. Universities can only submit four nominees’ applications, and each selected scholar is awarded $7,500 to support undergraduate research in their junior or senior year. A record three W&L students were selected for Goldwater Scholarships this spring.

Sahin plans to use the scholarship to further develop his research on bioinformatics and biomechanics by providing essential funding for international conference attendance and research-oriented study-abroad opportunities. The Goldwater Scholarship also helps connect students with fellow scholars and potential mentors, and Sahin is looking forward to exchanging insights with others in the field to enhance his research efforts and personal growth as he pursues a career in biomedical sciences.

Sahin is W&L’s first sophomore to receive a Goldwater Scholarship since 2009. He feels honored to receive the scholarship at such an early stage of his research career and believes it underscores the exceptional opportunities and resources he’s been afforded at W&L.

“To me, receiving this scholarship as a sophomore signifies not only recognition of my past achievements, but also confidence in my potential to contribute meaningfully to my field in the future,” Sahin said.

At W&L, Sahin is a Johnson Scholar and is involved in the Outing Club, University Orchestra, University Chamber Ensemble and the social research and discussion group. He is also the founder and president of W&L’s chapter of Remote Area Medical (RAM), and recently led a team to volunteer at a RAM clinic in Charleston, West Virginia that provided free medical, dental and vision services. Sahin called his volunteer efforts with RAM his most impactful experience at W&L so far.

In the classroom, Sahin is committed to improving his research computing skills and learning as much as he can to help prepare for his postgraduate career.

“Sarp is very enthusiastic about pursuing a career in biomedical research and eager to develop a diverse computational skill set to help him in that endeavor,” said Gregg Whitworth, associate professor of biology. “Purely for the joy of it, he took on an extracurricular bioinformatics project in my lab last fall to gain more practice despite not earning any course credit for his work. His love for data and computational analysis is deep and he is already far more skilled than many undergraduates.”

Sahin has been involved in several research projects over the past few years and recently had the opportunity to present his research at the 2023 Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine Society Conference. He has pursued research opportunities at the Movement Science Lab at Scottish Rite for Children in Frisco, Texas, where he investigated the causes and effects of maladaptive movement patterns in pediatric populations; the NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center at Washington University School of Medicine, where he applied high-performance computing methods to discern differentially expressed genes in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s disease; and the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center, where he analyzed single-nucleotide variants (SNV) in a cohort of patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma, and the effects of prescribing proton pump inhibitors on SNV mutation rates. Sahin plans to return to the NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center this coming summer to investigate sex differences in the blood transcriptome of Parkinson’s disease.

“More than anything, this award reflects the tremendous support and guidance I have received from my academic and research mentors,” Sahin said. “This prestigious award is a testament to their investment in my development as a researcher, and I cannot thank them enough for their continuous mentorship. I’m particularly grateful to Matthew Loar, W&L’s director of fellowships, for his encouragement and guidance throughout the application process.”

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