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Pedestrian bridge over Cumberland Avenue to Strong Hall.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, sophomore Tyler Myers has been named a 2023 Goldwater Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate STEM scholarship in the United States.

Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 annually to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The award was established in 1986 to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry M. Goldwater.

Since 2010, 27 UT students have been named Goldwater Scholars. As Tennessee’s premier public university, more students than ever are drawn to the university’s highly regarded academic programs and the Volunteer experience.

TylerMyersUTNewsMyers, from Brentwood, Tennessee, is studying microbiology and neuroscience with minors in chemistry and public health. He is a Haslam Scholar, a Leadership Knoxville Scholar, a College of Arts and Sciences ambassador and an editor of UT’s undergraduate research journal, Pursuit.

“Joining the Goldwater Scholar community is a reflection of the tremendous mentorship I have received along my journey to become a scientist,” said Myers. “Research provides the foundation for how we thrive and grow, and I hope to contribute to the scientific wealth of knowledge as a researcher and educator for future generations.”

Myers’ faculty mentors are Heidi Goodrich-Blair, the David and Sandra White Professor of Microbiology, and postdoctoral researcher Jennifer Heppert — both of UT’s Department of Microbiology — and David Miller III of Vanderbilt University.

Myers aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in translational neuroscience, conducting gut-brain research in understanding microbial impacts on neurodevelopment and becoming a principal investigator and professor at a research institution.

An estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors applied for Goldwater Scholarships this year; 1,267 of those students were nominated by 427 academic institutions, and 413 received the prestigious award. Including the 2023 awards, the Goldwater Foundation has awarded 10,283 scholarships since 1989.

UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships facilitates the Goldwater application process and works with the Goldwater Selection Committee to choose the university’s nominees. Students who would like more information about the Goldwater Scholarship and other nationally competitive awards can visit the URF website and set up an appointment to meet with its staff.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,

Laura De Furio (865-974-3518,