Two engineering students recognized by Goldwater Foundation

Taylor Cannon and Eunice Jun have received honorable mentions in this year’s Goldwater Scholars competition.


Cannon, from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is a sophomore in the biomedical engineering program. Her research focus in biomedical optics is guided by her interest in developing optically based, low-cost diagnostic equipment to detect curable diseases such as jaundice and tuberculosis in areas of the world with limited health care access.

Under the guidance of Dr. Melissa Skala, she has explored a number of approaches to using fluorescence to identify treatment response in cancer cells, including multiphoton microscopy to measure fluorescence of endogenous metabolic biomarkers in esophageal- and breast cancer-cell monolayers. Research begun in her first year at Vanderbilt resulted in a first-authored paper in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Her Goldwater application was supported by Skala, Dr. Hak-Joon Sung and Dr. David Merryman.


Jun is a junior from Burbank, California, majoring in cognitive studies and computer science. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science with a focus on human-computer interactions and data visualization using virtual reality.

In collaboration with Vanderbilt professors Robert Bodenheimer and John Rieser, she has conducted several studies investigating the ways in which self-avatars facilitate user navigation and interaction in virtual reality environments. She also has explored the use of virtual reality to visualize hernias in clinical CT images.

Her Goldwater application was supported by Bodenheimer and Rieser, as well as Dr. Bill Thompson of the University of Utah.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. Goldwater Scholarships are designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering