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Fox, Scroggins Named Goldwater Scholars 

Two of the three 2024 Goldwater Scholars from the University of Tennessee this year are Tickle College of Engineering students.

Amelya Fox and Jakob Scroggins were selected to receive one of the most prestigious scholastic awards that an undergraduate student in the United States can achieve.

Fox, a junior biomedical engineering student, is performing her undergraduate research on biomedical imaging and cardiovascu lar health. The Illinois native wants to obtain a PhD in biomedical engineering and conduct research in reproductive technology and women’s health.

Scroggins, a junior in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), plans to earn a PhD and continue to conduct research on sustainable development of energy-storage devices.

Jakob Scroggins
Jakob Scroggins

“It is really gratifying and just feels good to be recognized,” said Scroggins, a Missouri native. “Not only for my work, but the work of my mentors and professors and the people around me who are investing in the things I am doing.”

Established in 1986 by Congress to honor US Senator Barry M Goldwater, the Goldwater scholarship provides up to $7,500 annually to college sophomores and juniors intending to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

A total of 438 Goldwater scholarships were awarded for the 2024-25 academic year. From an estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,353 science, engineering, and mathematics students were nominated by 446 academic institutions to compete for 2024 Goldwater scholarships.

Thirty UT students have been selected for the honor since 2010.

“The monetary aspect of the scholarship will definitely be helpful going through the rest of my undergraduate career, allowing me to do research before graduate school,” Fox said. “But apart from that, the Goldwater scholarship name means a lot to people in the science field, so it’s a big boost to my résumé as I start applying for graduate school and continue along my research path.”

Scroggins’ mentors are Joint UT Professor David Harper, Professor and Associate Department Head David Keffer, and MSE alumna Lu Yu. During the semester, Scroggins works with Harper at the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Center for Renewable Carbon (CRC), where he investigates lignin-derived carbon fibers that can be used as supercapacitor electrodes.

He took part in the US Department of Energy’s Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship last summer in the Battery Manufacturing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scroggins worked on the development of a novel, versatile, and water-based method for delaminating anode films from copper current collectors that takes advantage of the chemical properties in surfactant and a salt.

“He really stands out as a student. He picks up things really quickly,” Harper said. “He is self-motivated and driven, but he is quiet, humble and easy going as well. He is not afraid to try and figure things out by himself and not afraid to pitch in when you ask him to do things. He works well with others.”

Amelya Fox
Amelya Fox

Fox has been working in the lab of MABE Assistant Professor Colleen Crouch for the last two years using 4D ultrasound to study myocardial infarction in mice to determine how to best observe the severity of heart attacks.

Last summer, Fox was an undergraduate research fellow at Purdue University under Professor of Biomedical Engineering Craig Goergen. Fox’s project was studying the sex differences in myocardial infarction, work she has continued at UT.

“Amelya thrives in any research or educational experience because she has an eagerness to learn, quickly master’s research skills, and has the intellectual ability to synthesize new research ideas after reading literature and conducting experiments,” Crouch said. “As I have mentored Amelya, I have become even more confident that she is an independent and highly capable engineer and researcher.”

Fox serves as the secretary for UT’s chapter of Biomedical Engineering Society, is an upperclassmen mentor for the Society of Women in Engineers, is a member of Tau Beta Pi, and is in the Haslam Leadership Scholars Program. After obtaining her PhD, Fox aspires to work as a principal investigator at the National Institutes of Health or in research and design in industry.

“I think the Goldwater scholarship is really a direct reflection of UT and mentorship from my research mentors, both faculty and graduate students,” Fox said. “We are lucky to have so many amazing resources at UT, not only to expose us to experiences and awards, but to help us through the application processes.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,