University of Notre Dame junior Michelle Kwok has been named a 2023 Goldwater Scholar in recognition of her exceptional promise as a future research leader in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.
Kwok is a physics and philosophy double major from Mishawaka, Indiana. She is a Glynn Family Honors Scholar and a Lilly Scholar.
As with former Goldwater Scholars, Kwok worked closely with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) in applying for the award.
“Congratulations to Michelle on this great achievement. Past Notre Dame Goldwater Scholars have gone on to attend top Ph.D. programs and win other prestigious STEM awards such as the Churchill Scholarship and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship,” said Emily Hunt, student engagement program coordinator with CUSE. “Michelle has an equally bright future ahead of her. I would like to thank our faculty nominating committee who volunteered their time to select the nominees and provide feedback.”
Named for former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarship seeks to foster and encourage outstanding sophomores and juniors to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. It is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
“Michelle never stops, yet she does everything at such a high level. Her class work, her work tutoring children in math, her research and REUs — she has been able to do it all while remaining one of the strongest physics majors we have seen at Notre Dame in years."
A member of the Women in Physics Club at Notre Dame, Kwok is a former research assistant to J. Christopher Howk, professor of physics at Notre Dame, and Michelle Kelley and Nathan Sitaraman at Cornell University. Her work with Kelley and Sitaraman was part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
She is currently studying abroad in Dublin while assisting Christopher Kolda, professor of physics and astronomy at Notre Dame, with research around the relationship between dark matter and primordial black holes.
Long-term, she hopes to conduct research in high-energy physics and teach at the university level.
Describing her as highly capable and self-motivated, Kolda, Kwok’s research adviser and physics professor, said of her, “Michelle never stops, yet she does everything at such a high level. Her class work, her work tutoring children in math, her research and REUs — she has been able to do it all while remaining one of the strongest physics majors we have seen at Notre Dame in years. She has all the ingredients to develop into a top physics researcher and teacher. It has been a pleasure to work with her and to have her in class.”
For more on this and other scholarship opportunities, visit cuse.nd.edu.