Junior Natalia Orlovsky Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Department Announcement
Posted on April 16, 2021

One- and two-year Goldwater Scholarships cover tuition, fees, room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Orlovsky is one of 410 scholarship winners for 2021, selected from a field of 1,256 students nationwide who were nominated by their colleges or universities. 

The scholarship program honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater was created as part of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, a federally endowed agency instituted by an act of Congress in 1986.

“I’m delighted about this award because I hope to pursue a career in biological research,” said Orlovsky, a molecular biology major from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. “It’s really exciting to be recognized for something I care so deeply about.”

She added: “I’ve been very lucky to find several wonderful mentors in the Princeton research community, and I’m immensely grateful to them for their support and guidance!” 

Orlovsky identified four mentors: Clifford Brangwynne, Princeton’s June K. Wu ’92 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who is also the adviser for her junior paper; Amy Strom, a postdoctoral research fellow in Brangwynne’s lab; Shawn Davidson, an associate research scholar in the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; and Steve Buratowski, a 1984 Princeton alumnus who is now a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Orlovsky, a junior, is currently studying the contributions of chromatin stiffness to nuclear mechanics. Her prior work in the Brangwynne lab explored liquid-liquid phase separation dynamics in the context of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology with the hope of becoming a research professor.

Her interests extend beyond the lab to history, theater and writing — several of her poems and short stories have appeared in literary journals. The self-described “everything nerdalso won Princeton’s Shapiro Prize in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years; has served on the boards of Theatre Intime, a student theater organization, and the Princeton Pride Alliance; and reviews research articles for the Princeton Undergraduate Research Journal. As a high school senior, she won $175,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search for her investigations into how vaping (smoking e-cigarettes) stresses lung cells.