Published: May 7, 2019 By

Two CU Boulder undergraduates who have demonstrated a strong potential to succeed as researchers in science, engineering and math have been named recipients of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

CU Boulder’s 2019–20 Goldwater Scholars are Ellen Considine, a junior from Boulder, Colorado, who is majoring in applied math with minors in statistics, geography and economics, and Yannick Lee-Yow, a sophomore from Niwot, Colorado, who is majoring in biochemistry; molecular, cellular and developmental biology (MCDB) and neuroscience.

Deborah Viles, director of the university’s Office of Top Scholarships, said Considine and Lee-Yow were selected from a pool of 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, and noted that this year’s high number of scholars resulted from a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs (NDEP) and the Goldwater Foundation.

Ellen Considine
Ellen Considine

Yannick Lee-Yow
Yannick Lee-Yow

Considine, a member of the Engineering Honors Program and a Norlin Scholar, aspires to advance the application of data science methods in environmental health monitoring, evaluation and public policy implementation and will pursue a doctorate in biostatistics.

Since 2017, she has worked in Earth Lab, an earth data science research consortium established under a Grand Challenge grant at CU. As a member of the lab’s environmental health science team, she has investigated associations between wildfire air pollution and human health.

Over the summer of 2017, Considine assisted CU Engineers Without Borders (EWB) assess future projects in Nepal, including drone mapping to help inform the work of EWB and other research and development groups. This summer, she will continue her Earth Lab research and collaborate with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and Denver Public Schools to analyze data characterizing air pollution exposure and childhood asthma.

Her father, CU Boulder alumnus Geoff Considine, who holds a doctorate, also won a Goldwater Scholarship in 1989. Considine said she is grateful for the support she has received from family, friends, professors, mentors and lab colleagues.

“Receiving this recognition from the Goldwater Foundation renews my faith in committing so much of my college experience to pursuing ideas and skills that will allow me to help address large-scale societal challenges,” she said.

For his part, Lee-Yow plans to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry to further research in the field of molecular disease pathways. He has contributed to two research groups at CU.

In Ding Xue’s lab, he is studying the mechanisms of mitochondrial gene mutations in C. elegans, and in Jennifer Knight’s lab, he is working to identify the cognitive processes students use to solve complex biological problems.

In addition to his academic work, Lee-Yow is a tutor, a chemistry teaching assistant, a jazz pianist and a learning assistant for MCDB’s capstone developmental biology course.

“Being named a Goldwater Scholar has been a great honor for me and has definitely opened a lot of doors in terms of graduate schools,” Lee-Yow said.

“Although receiving this award recognizes some of my academic and research achievements, none of it would have been possible without the help and support of my mentors, as well as the campus Goldwater representatives,” he added.

About the Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater is considered the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Congress established the award in 1986 to honor the memory and work of the late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.

This year, the Goldwater Foundation selected 496 scholars nationwide from a pool of 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, and most are expected to pursue doctoral degrees.

Math, science and engineering sophomores and juniors who are engaged in research and are interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship next year are encouraged to contact Deborah Viles at

Learn more about the Goldwater Scholarship.