UConn Junior Named Goldwater Scholar

The Goldwater Scholarship was established with the purpose of identifying students of outstanding ability and promise, and encouraging them to pursue advanced study and research careers

Neo Lin holds a sample in a laboratory.

Neo Lin '25 (CLAS) holds a sample in a laboratory at the Chemistry Building on April 8, 2024. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

University of Connecticut junior Neo Lin ’25 (CLAS), a chemistry major who was raised in Madison, has been named a Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences, and engineering.

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress to honor the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, with the purpose of identifying students of outstanding ability and promise, and encouraging them to pursue advanced study and research careers. Scholars receive one- or two-year awards that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Lin is among just 438 students selected nationally for the award this year for the first time from a pool of more than 5,000 applicants.

Lin has performed research in the lab of associate professor of chemistry Tomoyasu Mani since his freshman year.

“Research is the reason I was able to get the Goldwater Scholarship,” says Lin. “Without the help of Dr. Mani and the other students in the lab teaching and training me, I would not have been able to reach where I am now.”

Besides Mani, Lin also credits Sam Johnson ’22 (CLAS), who was a UConn undergraduate during Lin’s freshman year and is now a doctoral student at Cal Tech, and current graduate assistant Miu Tsuji as mentors for his success.

Lin currently leads the lab’s efforts to develop emissive molecular qubits for quantum sensing and control applications. His proposed project aims to provide a new way to control molecular emissivity, which will allow the lab to improve the magnetic sensitivity of molecular qubits.

“Since he joined my lab in 2021 as a freshman, Neo has consistently impressed me with his dedication to research,” says Mani. “Neo possesses inquisitive thinking, a quality we aim to foster in our students. His first paper began with his keen observation of peculiar behaviors in the molecules he isolated from what we initially deemed a ‘failed’ reaction. This seemingly minor observation led us to uncover that electron transfer reactions within these molecules do not follow the conventional temperature dependence. Neo is pushing the boundaries of what undergraduate students can accomplish in research.

“I look forward to Neo’s continued progress for another year at UConn, and I am confident that he will continue to make significant contributions to our research.”

Lin is a consistent Dean’s List student at UConn and was named a University Scholar for the fall of 2023, just one of 15 juniors to earn that distinction.

He earned an IDEA grant for the 2024-25 academic year, which will support his own research project at UConn.

Lin was a science undergraduate laboratory intern at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, in the summer of 2023.

“For people who want to get into research, I would recommend they get into it as soon as possible,” says Lin. “You can begin building opportunities right away and as the professors gain trust in you, you will get more opportunities to expand your network.”

Lin originally came to UConn on a pre-medicine track, but decided to concentrate on chemistry the more he found out how much he enjoyed research.

“When you know you are contributing to society, it really feels validating,” says Lin.

Lin plans on attending graduate school in the chemistry area and would like to work in academia, industry or the government sector in his future.

He is also a member of the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association at UConn.

“Neo has continued to grow as a researcher, and I am very glad that the Goldwater committee has recognized this,” says Michael Cunningham, the assistant director of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships and UConn’s Goldwater Scholarship campus representative. “I have no doubt that he will eventually become a leader in the field of quantum information science.”


The Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF) is a resource for students interested in learning more about the Goldwater Scholarship and other prestigious scholarships and fellowships that support study in all fields. ONSF is part of Enrichment Programs and is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at the University, including students at the regional campuses. For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship and other prestigious, nationally-competitive awards, visit ONSF at www.onsf.uconn.edu