UGA’s Elise Karinshak named 2022 Goldwater Scholar

Elise Karinshak headshot

Elise Karinshak

University of Georgia Honors student Elise Karinshak is among 417 undergraduates across the nation to be recognized as 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholars, earning the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.

Karinshak, from Lawrenceville, is a third-year Foundation Fellow majoring in data science in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and marketing in the Terry College of Business. She is pursuing a minor in studio art in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Her studies focus on data mining and media analytics, and she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in data science.

Since 1995, 64 UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors across the United States.

“The University of Georgia is proud of Elise for this impressive achievement,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I am pleased that the significant investments UGA has made, and continues to make, in STEM education are paying dividends for our students and our society.”

This year’s Goldwater Scholars include 45 mathematics and computer science majors, 64 engineering majors and 308 natural sciences majors. The recipients were selected from a field of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors who were nominated by 433 academic institutions nationwide. Each awardee will receive up to $7,500 toward the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board.

“We are so happy to see Elise’s hard work recognized,” said Meg Amstutz, interim associate provost and dean of the Morehead Honors College. “She represents the quality of undergraduate research at UGA and the incredible support our faculty members provide for our students.”

Karinshak plans to pursue a research career at the intersection of data science and AI-mediated communication, analyzing systems that can generate, augment or modify content to achieve communication goals. She aims to develop data and modeling techniques to improve socially impactful communications efforts, such as public health messaging, and reduce disinformation in the digital environment.

Since 2020, Karinshak has studied how messages are shared and altered on social media, conducting research with Yan Jin, a professor and assistant department head for public relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She received a research assistantship from the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities in 2020 to support her work. In May, Karinshak will present her research at an international communications conference in France.

Karinshak was the first undergraduate invited to participate in the Grady College’s Crisis Communication Coalition Research Group. In this capacity, she collaborates with doctoral students to develop projects analyzing messaging in health, political, social and organizational crises. Last summer, she also worked as a research intern in the Stanford Social Media Lab, analyzing applications of large language models in public health messaging.

Karinshak is co-founder and co-president of CodeHub, which encourages collaborative and hands-on exploration of coding; co-president of the Paw Print Agency, a student-run advertising and public relations agency serving local nonprofits; co-president of the Honors Student Council; and a leadership fellow in the Terry College of Business. She has been a mentor, lead facilitator and marketing officer for the UGA chapter of Girls Who Code and was director of marketing for Feed the Frontlines GA, which supported health care workers and local restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Additionally, Karinshak is a marketing associate for Ambactus Group, a company that specializes in launching impactful consumer packaged goods brands into national retail. She published an insight piece about Gen Z and social media last December in PRNEWS.

The scholarship honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences. Since its first award in 1989, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has bestowed 9,870 scholarships.

UGA’s major scholarships office, housed in the Morehead Honors College, provides students across campus with assistance as they apply for national, high-level scholarships. For more information, contact Jessica Hunt, assistant dean and director of scholarships, at [email protected] or visit

Writer: Stephanie Schupska, [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Hunt, [email protected]

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