Chemical engineering student selected as Goldwater Scholar

April 2, 2024 - by Kim Delker

photo: Mia Baca
Mia Baca

Mia Baca, a junior in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been selected as a 2024-25 Goldwater Scholar. She was one of three selected from UNM this year out of a pool of 1,353 college sophomores and juniors nominated by more than 400 academic institutions.

Baca, who has a minor in mathematics, is also a McNair Scholar and recipient of the UNM Regents' Scholarship. She is currently conducting research in the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for optical refrigeration at the Center for High Technology Materials. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering and conduct research in materials for energy conversion.

“I am honored to have been selected as a 2024 Goldwater Scholar,” Baca said. “I have faced many challenges pursuing a research career and I will surely face more, so this award symbolizes my progress toward my goals. I have a passion for science, and I am excited to contribute to the global effort to expand our knowledge and better our world. I am very thankful for the support of my mentors, Dr. Marek Osiński and Dr. Maxwell Gregoire, as well as my advisor, Dr. Shuya Wei.”

UNM has produced 17 recipients of Goldwater Scholarships within the past decade. The past six have been women. These three join the ranks of 10,720 scholarships awarded since 1989 by the Goldwater Foundation.

“Earning this prestigious award not only validates their academic excellence but also underscores their potential to make significant contributions to their respective fields through their dedicated research efforts,” said Kiyoko Simmons, UNM Honors College scholarship coordinator.