Two UAB students selected as Goldwater Scholars 2024

The Goldwater Program received 1,353 nominations from 446 institutions this year, and the winners will receive a scholarship covering tuition, housing, fees and books.

2024GoldwaterScholars 550x413Two University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences students, Karim Mikhail and Molly Reynolds, have been selected for the national Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious math and science award for undergraduate students. 

The Goldwater Scholars Program was established in 1986, honoring United States Sen. Barry Goldwater. The goal of this preeminent scholarship is to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. 

“UAB’s consistent success in the Goldwater Scholarship competition speaks so highly of the caliber of mentorship our students receive,” said Michelle Cook, Ph.D., director of the Office of National and International Fellowships and Scholarships. “This national recognition for Karim and Molly sets them up for many more future successes.”

Mikhail, from Hoover, Alabama, is double majoring in neuroscience and philosophy and is a member of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program. 


“Winning the Goldwater Scholarship is a testimony to the incredible mentors who have guided me throughout my time at UAB,” Mikhail said. “The support I received to pursue research at UAB sets this institution apart, not to mention Dr. Cook’s invaluable guidance in helping us turn our experiences into a compelling story. I am excited to keep working toward a career in medicine and science, and to continue seeing UAB students accomplish big things.”

Reynolds, from Indian Springs, Alabama, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and an accelerated Master of Science degree in multidisciplinary biomedical sciences with a concentration in neuroscience. 

“I am so honored to be named a Barry Goldwater Scholar this year,” Reynolds said. “I would like to thank Dr. Cook and Dr. Gavin for advising me through the Goldwater application process, and Dr. HaoSheng Sun for allowing me to research in his lab and for his mentorship.” 

Molly and Karim updatedKarim Mikhail (UAB Photograph) and Molly Reynolds (Heather Swanner Photography)Research interests and goals

Both Honors College students in the Science and Technology Honors Program have been involved in cutting-edge research since their freshman year. 

Mikhail works in the lab of Erik Roberson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology in the Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, which develops therapeutics including protein-replacement gene therapy that is being translated for use in frontotemporal dementia. After graduation, he plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. to advance dementia research through clinical trials evaluating drug efficacy and novel dementia biomarkers. 

Reynolds has worked in the lab of HaoSheng Sun, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, since her freshman year, researching electrical synapses and how they are regulated and dysregulated in neurodevelopment. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience focusing on neuronal development, maturation and aging. 

Mikhail and Reynolds worked closely with the Office of National and International Fellowships and Scholarships on their Goldwater Scholarship applications. The office advises students applying for Goldwater and other nationally competitive awards through information sessions, writing workshops, and one-on-one meetings to revise and refine application materials.