Engineering’s Usherwood named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

Thomas UsherwoodBiomedical engineer Thomas Usherwood ’22 has been named one of 410 college students to receive a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Scholarship Program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics, and is the preeminent undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Usherwood joins Chemistry’s Joseph Cavanaugh and Computer Science and Biology’s Hossam Zaki as the three Brown juniors who were awarded the scholarship.

Usherwood is a research assistant in Professor Anubhav Tripathi’s lab at Brown, where he is working on a microfluidic device to extract cell-free DNA from maternal DNA for fetal aneuploidy testing. He has also worked in Assistant Professor Vikas Srivastava’s lab, developing a differential equation model for COVID-19. Last summer, he began working as a research Assistant in Professor Jonathan Elliott’s lab at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., helping to develop a pulse-dye densitometer system to monitor bone perfusion in patients with severe bone damage. Usherwood presented his research at the 2019 annual Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards symposium at Brown, and also at the 2020 Biomedical Engineering Society annual meeting.

From an estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,256 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 438 academic institutions to compete for the 2021 scholarships. Of students who reported, virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Fifty-one Scholars are mathematics or computer science majors, 291 are majoring in the natural sciences and 68 are majoring in engineering.

The Goldwater Scholars, named to honor the late Senator Barry Goldwater, annually receive an amount equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board, minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7,500. With the 2021 awards, this brings the number of scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation to 9,457.

Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs, and in their history have been awarded 94 Rhodes Scholarships, 150 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.