Two W.A. Franke Honors Students Win 2024-2025 Goldwater Award

May 20, 2024

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation announced that it will support 508 scholars across the country this upcoming academic year, two of which are University of Arizona students.


The Goldwater scholarship is awarded to outstanding students pursuing research oriented careers in disciplines such as natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, and provides awardees with funds to cover cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per full academic year.

Since its establishment in 1986, many Goldwater Scholars have gone on to win other competitive awards, such as National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellows, Hertz Fellows, DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellows, Astronaut Scholars, Churchill Scholars, Marshall Scholars, and Rhodes Scholars.

Portia Cooper and Bryce Wilson, both W.A. Franke Honors students, are the recipients of this years' Goldwater Scholarship. Cooper plans to graduate this upcoming fall with her B.S. in Computer Science, and Wilson is a junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry. Cooper and Wilson were selected from a pool of nearly 5,000 undergraduate students who applied for this prestigious scholarship. 

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Portia Cooper

Portia Cooper is a second-year W. A. Franke Honors student majoring in computer science. She has led studies involving online hate speech detection through the Franke Honors Quest Project, AI-optimized case selection to support ethical content moderation, and adversarial Text-to-Image prompt mitigation. Her research was published in Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023 and Portia was selected as a Finalist in the 2024 NCWIT Collegiate Award Competition sponsored by Amazon and Qualcomm to recognize outstanding computing accomplishments of undergraduate and graduate women in the United States and Canada. Originally from Tucson, Portia got her start in computer science at UArizona Girls Who Code when she was 12 years old. Now, she is the Lead Facilitator at the club and manages a team of 14 graduate and undergraduate students to provide computer science instruction to 6th-12th graders on Saturdays at the Main Library.

Bryce Wilson

Bryce Wilson is a junior at the W.A. Franke Honors College and plans to pursue an M.D. and Ph.D in Molecular Neuroscience, and conduct research on the molecular and genetic basis of neurological disease to develop targeted therapeutics. Majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Bryce got started in research early, while still in high school. Since beginning his research journey, Bryce has developed a deep love for science and medicine. He hopes to eventually lead a research group that works on the development of precision therapeutics for the treatment of neurological disease. Outside of academics and research, Bryce spends much of his time running, doing photography, and playing the bass.

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The Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Throughout the process of applying for the Goldwater Award, both Cooper and Wilson sought advising from the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships (ONCS). Housed in the Honors Village offices, ONCS is dedicated to assisting all University of Arizona students in pursuing prestigious external awards like the Goldwater Scholarship, typically funded by esteemed foundations or government agencies.

Learn more about scholarships available to you at