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Matthew James Leming, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been awarded a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship. UNC junior Samuel Jackson Resnick received an honorable mention.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program of Springfield, Va., recently announced 283 recipients nationwide from a pool of 1,166 nominees. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.

A computer science and Russian language and literature major, Leming conducted research in neuroimaging at UNC and worked on artificial intelligence in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a Class of 1938 Fellowship.

Through the Carolina Students Taking Academic Responsibility through Teaching (C-START) program, Leming became accredited to teach his own course, a 15-person class combining the history and societal implications of computer science with a computer-programming component. He was also a teaching assistant for Foundations of Computer Programming.

Leming is working with UNC’s Information Technology Services to design and program an official UNC mobile phone application. He is also the founder and president of the UNC Association of Computing Machinery (also known as the Computer Science Club), serves as an associate justice on the Student Supreme Court, drew weekly political cartoons for the Daily Tar Heel student newspaper and serves as the head copy editor for Carolina Scientific Magazine. Recently, he was an organizer for HackNC, UNC’s largest “hackathon” (an intense conference for computer coding enthusiasts).

Leming’s career goals are to pursue a doctorate in computational neuroscience, conduct research in medical imaging and teach at the university level. His ultimate hope is “to head a research laboratory that brings artificial intelligence and medical imaging to a crossroads,” he said.

“Leming is an exceptionally able and public-spirited scientist. He is ambitious to use his computational ability to understand the workings of the brain,” said Jason Reed, associate professor of biology and head of UNC’s Goldwater Scholarship selection committee.

The son of Gary and Lisa Leming of New Orleans, La., Leming attended T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville before coming to UNC as a Carolina Covenant Scholar. He is an Honors Carolina student.

Resnick is the son of James Resnick and Camilynn Brannan of Gainesville, Fla., and attended Gainesville High School. At UNC, he did complex research on cancer cells, won the prize for best chemistry student in his year, wrote for Carolina Scientific and helped develop programs at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to support families who are affected by a parent’s cancer.

Resnick, an Honors Carolina student, plans to pursue a medical degree/doctorate in genomics/epigenomics and use his research knowledge to study and diagnose genetic diseases.

By UNC News Services

Published March 31, 2014