LtoR: Christopher Trombley, Afi H. Tagnedji and Lori Porter
LtoR: Christopher Trombley, Afi H. Tagnedji and Lori Porter

Three University of Louisville juniors conducting undergraduate research in breast cancer, galaxies and robotics have won 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, marking the largest number of recipients from UofL for this award in a single year.

Lori Porter, Afi H. Tagnedji and Christopher Trombley bring to 10 the total number of UofL students who have won the award, established in 1986 in honor of former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater Scholars are awarded a maximum of $7,500 per academic year. To be eligible, students must be sophomores or juniors who intend to pursue a research career in natural science, mathematics or engineering.

Porter, of Campbellsburg, Kentucky, is a physics and astronomy major in the College of Arts & Sciences and a Brown Fellow. She works with Benne Holwerda studying void galaxies and, in addition, at the Flatiron Institute in New York City, conducts astrophysical research on galaxy formation and evolution with UofL alumna Blakesley Burkhart and her postdoctoral scholar, Matt Orr. 

“Studying these natural phenomena of our universe has fascinated me since elementary school, and I look forward to continuing this research under the support of the Goldwater Scholarship,” she said.

Tagnedji is an A&S chemistry and biochemistry double major who is both a Martin Luther King Scholar and a Porter Scholar. A native of Togo in west Africa, Tagnedji hopes to earn an MD and PhD in pharmacology and genetics. 

“The Goldwater affirms my standing as an undergraduate researcher and scientist in training,” she said. “It’s an honor.”

Tagnedji is conducting breast cancer research as well as research in insulin-resistance. Her mentors are David W. Hein, Mark P. Running, Kyung U. Hong and Linda Fuselier.

A student leader who was executive director of the Student Government Association’s Engage Lead Serve Board, she was also one of four UofL students to serve on the first student advisory board for Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education.

Trombley, the third 2022 recipient, double majors in computer science engineering in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and mathematics in A&S.

His mentors are Dan Popa, Mehmed Kantardzic and Nik Chawla.

“I plan to use this award to continue my research at the Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute (LARRI) on intelligent robots and computer vision under the mentorship of Dan Popa and Mehmed Kantardzic,” he said. “We are currently working on a mobile robot that uses computer vision and machine learning technology to autonomously disinfect rooms.”

Trombley plans to spend the summer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducting research on intelligent algorithms at the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines. His goal is to eventually earn a PhD.

“The University of Louisville and the J.B. Speed School of Engineering helped me grow into the researcher I am today, and I am extremely thankful for the unparalleled experience the University of Louisville and Speed School have to offer,”  he said.