Sophomore Elise Young Selected as Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention

Elise Young

MACON – Mercer University sophomore Elise Young was recently selected as an Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates in science, mathematics and engineering.

This year’s Goldwater Scholars were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,280 natural sciences, mathematics and engineering students nominated by campus representatives from more than 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. A total of 211 scholarships were awarded for the 2018-2019 academic year, with an additional 281 nominees named as Honorable Mentions.

Young, an electrical engineering major from Lawrenceville, conducts research in the lab of Dr. Makhin Thitsa, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, where they have investigated the inherent presence of state dependent time delay in internet traffic congestion problems, as well as developed control strategies for optimizing the coordinated control of signalized traffic intersections.

“Elise is a wonderful student to work with. It has been a great pleasure mentoring her in research,” said Dr. Thitsa. “She has learned advanced-level materials very quickly and can devise plans to apply them in her research. She has been instrumental in my research groups’ efforts to develop signal control algorithms for transportation networks. Her research has produced several national and international conference presentations and journal articles in preparation.”

Young plans to earn her master’s degree through the School of Engineering’s 4+1 integrated Master of Science program, obtain a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and work in a national laboratory. She also hopes to study abroad in Japan.

She has participated in Mercer’s women’s choir, K-Pop dance team, Mercer Asia and intramural soccer and volleyball. As a student in the International Honors Track, she has been recognized on the President’s List and Dean’s List. Her interests include music, Japan and Japanese culture, soccer and religion.

“This experience has been very rewarding,” said Young, who received support from Dr. Thitsa, Dr. Adam Kiefer, Dr. Chamaree de Silva, Dr. Kevin Barnett and others throughout the application process. “It showed me how many people I have supporting me and hoping for my success. It gave me the opportunity to truly get to know them. Acknowledgement for my hard work is very validating, and it encourages me to delve even deeper into my research.”

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986. The scholarship program, honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater, was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, and is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed 8,132 scholarships worth approximately $65 million. For more information, visit