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Casting a wide net and making the most of the catch

Submitted by Diana Knight on March 1, 2021 - 6:19pm
Varanasi snapshot

Affiliate Professor Usha Varanasi shares her story of how she became the first woman to lead one of NOAA’s nine major fisheries field installations in the ICES Journal of Marine Science Food for Thought: Luminaries Collection, a curated collection of articles written by distinguished luminaries in the field of Marine Science.

Varanasi is not only an affiliate professor of chemistry but also an alumna of the University of Washington, having earned the PhD in chemistry in 1967, for her work titled “A Study of the Effect of Medium on Positive Ion Ground and Transition States” with Professor W. M. “Fred” Schubert.

In her paper, she describes the opportunities and challenges in “a series of unplanned adventures,” and how her “sense of adventure, optimism, and perseverance” and strong mentors helped her succeed.

Read her full story in ICES Journal of Marine Science, February 17, 2021.

Professor Varanasi and her husband Dr. S. Rao Varanasi (also a UW alum in aeronautics and astronautics) support students in the Department of Chemistry through the Usha and S. Rao Varanasi Endowed Diversity Scholarship. The Varanasis created this endowment in 2004 in appreciation of the guidance and opportunities provided to them during their graduate studies at the UW and in the hope of encouraging students to pursue opportunities where chemistry is applied to critical living marine resource issues. Because of their background, the Varanasis have a strong interest in aiding female students in chemistry who have had a deep cultural experience in India, either through their life experience, studies, or family connections. Through this scholarship, the Varanasis support the UW’s commitment to a diverse student population.

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