N.C. A&T Senior Named First HBCU Recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship

Nicole Neal, Contributor

GREENSBORO, N.C.- N.C. A&T senior chemistry student, Tanae Lewis, is making history by being the first HBCU student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, one of the oldest and most prestigious scholarships. 

With prestigious scholarships, come networking and connections. This year she was also the only HBCU student to receive the Astronaut Scholarship, awarded to the best and brightest scholars in STEM fields. 

Established in 1986, the Goldwater Scholarship helps junior and senior students interested in the research of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. She was one of the 200 college students recognized this year. 

During Lewis’ collegiate career, she has been able to accomplish and strive for huge opportunities. N.C. A&T Chemistry Professor, Dr. Angela White, says that her work and drive have grown over the years.

“As a freshman, she possessed immense focus, motivation, and humility,” White said. “I have watched these characteristics become magnified over the years, thus resulting in the brilliant emerging chemist and scholar we are experiencing today.” 

“Being a recipient of both of these prestigious scholarships allows me to network and connect with some of the brightest minds in STEM who show initiative, creativity, and excellence in their chosen fields,” Lewis said.

As an African-American woman, Lewis is being given amazing tools and resources that seldom come. Lewis wants to be able to change the playing field to create an environment that invites the underrepresented.

“You may enter places and opportunities where you are the only or few minorities in the room, but remember you are breaking barriers and representing others so that they can come after you,” Lewis said. 

She also wants to mentor and continue to provide resources just like the ones she was given. 

By making history, Lewis will have others look up to her. She encourages other students not to be afraid to step out of their comfort zone and find a proper support system. 

“Stay the course, set your goals, and use your resources to accomplish them,” Lewis said. “Find good mentors [and] make sure to have a good work-life balance. Practice mentors, professors, and God for support and a way to unwind,” Lewis advises.

After graduation, Lewis hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in cell biology or biochemistry with a focus on neuroscience. She plans to study neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease to uncover mechanisms that could be targeted for new treatments.