The Department of Philosophy is proud to announce that Sylvia E, a junior majoring in philosophy and brain and cognitive science, was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship for her potential to contribute to the advancement of research in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Nationally, 438 students were chosen from the 1,353 nominees to receive the $7,500 award. Slyvia E is one of five awardees chosen from the University of Illinois.  

Sylvia E plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive science/psychology. Her research focuses on understanding early lexical-semantic development by computationally modeling behavioral data from infants and young children. Under the direction of electrical and computer engineering professor Ujjal Kumar Bhowmik, she was part of an undergraduate team that designed a machine learning pipeline to improve handheld object detection in computer vision models. She has worked at the Brown University Language and Thought Lab and is a member of the Learning and Language Lab at Illinois, where she works with models of children’s conceptual development under Dr. Jon A. Willits. This summer, she plans to conduct neural, behavioral, and computational studies of infant language learning at the University of British Columbia through the Fulbright-Mitacs Globalink Program. 

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Goldwater, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program encourages the continued development of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to sophomores and juniors from the U.S. who intend to pursue doctorates. The scholarship provides recipients $7,500 annually towards undergraduate tuition, fees, books or room and board.