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Four Duke Juniors Named Goldwater Scholars

Award encourages students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering

2019 Goldwater Scholars: Kunal Shroff, Jill Jones, Azim Dharani, and Caroline Wang
2019 Goldwater Scholars: Kunal Shroff, Jill Jones, Azim Dharani, and Caroline Wang

All four Duke University undergraduates nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship have won the federally endowed award that encourages students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Azim Dharani, Jill Jones, Kunal Shroff and Caroline Wang are among 496 students awarded Goldwater Scholarships on Friday for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

The Goldwater Scholars were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a pool of 1,223 natural science, engineering and mathematics students nominated by the institutional representatives of 443 colleges and universities nationwide. Virtually all scholars intend to obtain a Ph.D. 

Dharani is an Angier B. Duke Scholar from Lewisville, Texas, majoring in chemistry with minors in computer science and classical archaeology. During his time at Duke, Azim has studied metal-binding therapeutic molecules with professor Katherine Franz.  Azim plans to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry to develop computational tools to guide the design of novel metal binding drugs and enzymes and he aspires to be a professor of chemistry, teaching undergraduates.

Jones is a neuroscience and linguistics double major from Columbus, Ohio. Her research has focused on male and female differences in pediatric brain tumors and targeted therapies for each with Dr. Eric Thompson at Duke and Dr. Josh Rubin at Washington University in St. Louis. She plans to lead an academic lab investigating why brain tumors are more common and lethal in males while developing sex-specific treatments for her patients as a pediatric neuro-oncologist. Jones will pursue a medical degree and Ph.D. in neuroscience.

Shroff is a chemistry and neuroscience major from Great Falls, Virginia, who studies neurological disorders such as dystonia with Dr. Nicole Calakos. Kunal plans to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience to study how molecular dysfunction drives patients’ symptoms. He also plans to get a medical degree and aspires to teach at the university level.

Wang is an East Amherst, New York, native pursuing a double major in computer science and mathematics. At Duke, she has studied machine learning under the mentorship of professor Cynthia Rudin. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, and lead a research lab either at a university or in industry.

“We are so proud of these students!  They have taken advantage of all Duke has to offer and have deeply engaged in fascinating research,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth.  “We wish them the very best in their future scholarship and look forward to hearing about their future discoveries.”

Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has awarded 8,628 scholarships worth approximately $68 million.  Seventy-seven Duke students have won Goldwater scholarships since 1995. 

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the Goldwater Scholarship from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, go to