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Wang named Goldwater Scholar

Allen Wang in protective gear in a clean room during a research internship at NASA Goddard.

Mengyu “Allen” Wang, a third-year student with majors in aerospace engineering, economics, and mathematics has been named a 2017 Goldwater Scholar.

The scholarships are awarded by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to recognize college sophomores and juniors of outstanding potential who intend to pursue careers in research. The scholarship is considered the nation’s most prestigious award for undergraduates in STEM disciplines.

Wang, whose primary major is in aerospace engineering, also chose a math major out of personal interest and to develop comprehensive problem-solving skills.

“As an aerospace engineering student, it struck me that we engineers often have a ‘plug and chug’ mentality,” Wang said. “If we can abstract and generalize, as mathematicians do, we can better understand and much more powerfully solve not only individual problems, but also broad classes of problems.”

Wang interned last summer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and will spend the upcoming summer as a Caltech summer undergraduate research fellow (SURF) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

At Iowa State Wang has completed research with Thomas Ward, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, on sedimentation and filtration experiments.

He is currently working with Christina Bloebaum, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, on optimization and systems modeling, including stochastic dominance based methods for optimization under uncertainty. He plans to attend graduate school to study computational design and optimization.

Mouhamad Diallo (’18 mechanical engineering and materials engineering), Courtney Smith (’18 genetics) and Matthew Cook (’18 genetics and biochemistry) also received Goldwater Scholarships. Iowa State was one of only four institutions in the nation to have all four nominees named as scholars.

“It definitely feels great to share this recognition together,” Wang said.