LaGuardia Students Selected as 2024 Barry Goldwater Scholars

LaGuardia Students Selected as 2024 Barry Goldwater Scholars
From left to right: Allen Chien and Amena Shamia

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (April 8, 2024) — Two students from LaGuardia Community College/CUNY were recently selected as 2024 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipients.

Allen Chien, a Computer Science major originally from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, says, “Being selected as a Goldwater Scholar means that my efforts and my dedication in conducting research has paid off and is acknowledged by the community.”

Allen says his mentors Dr. Praveenkumar Khethavath, Professor and Computer Science Program Director; Professor Midas Tsai, and Professor Maria Entezari, were very helpful and provided a lot of guidance.

“I think LaGuardia was a good starting point for me,” said Allen, who earned his degree from LaGuardia in 2023 and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Amena Shamia, is a Biology major, who aims to earn a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology. She would like to conduct research and work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her mentors include Dr. Claudette P. Davis, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at LaGuardia; Dr. Tonya Hendrix, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at LaGuardia; and Dr. Xueling Wu, Principal Investigator at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and beamed with joy about being selected as a Goldwater Scholar! It’s an incredible honor and I feel deeply acknowledged,” said Amena, who immigrated from Bangladesh almost three years ago. “This recognition means a lot to me, validating all the hard work and dedication I’ve poured into my academic pursuits over the last years. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my mentors, professors whose guidance and support have been invaluable in shaping my journey.”

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Allen and Amena were among the 508 selected as 2024 Scholars. From an estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,353 science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 446 academic institutions to compete for the 2024 Goldwater scholarships.

The Goldwater Foundation says of the students who self-reported, 188 of the Scholars are men, 236 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty-seven Scholars intend to pursue research careers in mathematics and computer science, 237 in the sciences, 80 in medicine, and 64 in engineering and materials research. An increasing number of the Goldwater Scholars have published their research in leading professional journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

Goldwater Scholars have gone on to win an impressive array of prestigious awards, becoming National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellows, NSF Graduate Research Fellows, Hertz Fellows, DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellows, Astronaut Scholars, Churchill Scholars, Marshall Scholars, and Rhodes Scholars.

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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