LAWRENCE — Angelica Lang was in the middle of an online exam for a psychology course when she got the email.
“I did take a moment to look at the email, and then I started freaking out a little bit,” she said.
She rallied, then sat down and finished the exam before sharing the good news with others: She had been named as the University of Kansas’ latest Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship recipient.
Goldwater scholars receive up to $7,500 annually for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Only sophomores and juniors with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. From an estimated pool of more than 5,000 students, Lang is one of 396 students across the country to earn the scholarship.
Lang, a junior from Manhattan, is majoring in molecular, cellular & developmental biology and is minoring in psychology. In high school, she gravitated toward science classes and took a particular interest in neuroscience after taking an anatomy course. After that, she read several dense books on the brain and continued pursuing this interest in college.
She said she wanted to continue on to graduate school and possibly pursue a career in academia.
“I’m interested in continuing on in the neurosciences, and I like teaching. I teach an introduction to biology lab for non-majors, and I’d like to be able to continue doing that if I can,” Lang said. “I’m looking at a lot of different options now for graduate school, and I’m hoping that this scholarship will help with those applications.”
She started conducting research at Kansas State University while she was still in high school. At KU, she has continued research, working in the lab of Erik Lundquist, professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. There, she works on neuron migration, increasing the understanding of how genes control how nerve cells move from one place to another.
Lang said her family, friends and mentors and colleagues have all appreciated hearing of her award and contributed to her success at KU.
“Everyone in our lab is really close,” she said. “Everyone in my lab and elsewhere at KU has been really helpful to me throughout my time here.”
Lundquist said Lang deserved the recognition and that she was a talented student, both in class and in the lab.
“Her research made an impact on my lab’s ongoing projects right away. She quickly learned lab techniques and complicated genetic concepts,” Lundquist said. “I am proud of Angelica for receiving the Goldwater scholarship, as are her lab mates and professors in molecular biosciences. Angelica exemplifies the best of the University of Kansas and will represent the Goldwater scholarship program and KU well.”
The campus process for nomination for Goldwater scholarships is coordinated through KU’s Office of Fellowships, and students interested in applying in the future may contact Anne Wallen, program director.
At KU, Lang was selected for the Beckman Scholars Program in 2019. The 15-month program is designed to enrich the development of young scientists. She also completed a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Idaho.
Lang is the daughter of Dennis and Elaine Lang and graduated from Manhattan High School. She is the 68th KU student to earn a Goldwater scholarship since they were first awarded in 1989.