2021-2022 Chemistry Scholarship and Book Award Recipients

Submitted by Diana Knight on
Kamryn Smith
Chloe Chiu
Chelan West
Sarah Stucky
Nicole Houppermans
Elizabeth Karas
Brandon Sim
Gwen Tilmes
Shenwei Wu
Nathan Ballinger
Pin-Ruei (Ray) Huang
Meg Takezawa
Hannah Lea
Jonathan Aalto
Anthony Heng
Damielle Hieber
Ashley Mahan
Emma Miller
Ally (Xinyi) Kong
Karisse Yamamoto

We are pleased to introduce you to our undergraduate students supported by departmental scholarships and book awards!

H. K. Benson Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship
Kamryn Smith is a third-year chemistry major graduating this spring. Her main interest is chemistry education, and she hopes to inspire her future students to share the same love and passion for chemistry that she has, while also emphasizing an equitable classroom. After graduation, Kamryn intends to substitute teach at her local high school while working towards her teaching certificate so she can pursue a career of teaching chemistry at the high school level.

Gerald and Sheila Berkelhammer Book Awards
Nicole Burd is a graduating senior from San Jose, California majoring in biochemistry. For the past two years, she has worked as a research assistant in Dr. Kristina Adams-Waldorf’s OBGYN lab, assisting in the development of new therapeutics and vaccines to protect pregnancies. After graduation, Nicole plans to work in a healthcare setting, whether that be medicine or pharmacy.

Chloe Chiu is a graduating senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She is currently working in Assistant Professor Rane Levendovszky’s lab (Radiology) learning about MRI and assisting with clinical trials. In the future, she plans to become a physician, specializing in either neurology or oncology. She hopes to make healthcare more accessible and help underserved communities where healthcare inequities are especially prevalent.

Chelan West is a graduating senior receiving a B.S. in chemistry. For the past year, she worked with graduate students in Professor Christine Luscombe's group (Materials Science & Engineering), focusing on polymers. She plans on taking a year or two off before seeking graduate studies in either mechanical engineering or textile chemistry, in hopes of working in the running-footwear industry. Chelan has spent her time at the UW leading Husky Running Club and exploring the vast world that is chemistry.

Boeing Scholarship
Sarah Stucky is a third year Interdisciplinary Honors student studying biochemistry. She has been involved with several labs, including Research Professor Emeritus Stuart E. Strand’s group (Civil & Environmental Engineering) where she studied genetically modified houseplants, and Associate Professor Helen Y. Chu’s group (Allergy and Infectious Disease) where she studied Covid transmission in elementary schools. Sarah currently works for the Harborview Emergency Department where she assists physicians with various clinical research projects. Her favorite project examines platelet function after full trauma injuries. Her time at Harborview has inspired her to apply to medical school with hopes to become an ER doctor.

Leland and Eleanor Burger Endowed Scholarships
Nicole Houppermans is a third-year biochemistry major. Nicole is conducting research with Associate Professor Peter Brzovic (Biochemistry) studying proteins involved in bacteria utilizing ubiquitin signaling pathways. Nicole loves learning about how proteins accomplish specific tasks in cells. She has written and edited articles for UW Grey Matters neuroscience journal, conducted research as part of UW’s iGEM team, and has volunteered as a math tutor as part of UW Riverways Education Partnerships.

Elizabeth Karas is a junior biochemistry major from San Francisco. She is currently working in the Associate Professor Jesse Zalatan’s group studying the role of scaffold proteins in cell signaling pathways. She is intrigued by the intricate biochemical networks within cells and their implications in disease. After graduating, she plans to pursue a career in childhood cancer research. It is her hope to use her passion for science to help children lead healthy lives.

Chemistry Scholarships
Brandon Sim is a junior studying biochemistry and mathematics. They are engaged in biophysics research, doing experimental work with fluorescence spectroscopy and proteins in Professor Sharona Gordon's group (Physiology & Biophysics), and theoretical work on DNA replication dynamics in Associate Professor Paul Wiggins' group (Physics). Brandon plans to pursue graduate studies in biophysics in hopes of advancing our quantitative understanding of life, and becoming a scientist committed building a more equitable academia.

Gwen Tilmes is a third-year student from Boulder, Colorado, majoring in and minoring in history. Last year she worked on a salivary gland organoid project in the research group of Professor Hannele Ruohola-Baker (Biochemistry). Gwen now spends her time outside of school volunteering in the community. Her goal after graduation is to become a doctor and to work towards improving health care. When she has free time, Gwen loves to go on hikes, climb, or do any type of outdoor activity.

Shenwei Wu is a senior pursuing majors in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. As a member Professor Brandi Cossairt’s inorganic chemistry lab, he has been actively engaged in the synthesis and characterization of colloidal semiconductor nanomaterials for the past three years. Through his studies, Shenwei hopes to unveil and understand more of nature’s mysteries and share his learning with others. For this reason, he works as a teaching assistant and CLUE tutor in his spare time and plans to continue enriching his knowledge in advanced courses and graduate school.

Earl W. Davie Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry
Nathan Ballinger is a senior chemistry major from Redmond, Washington. For the past year, Nathan has worked in the group of Associate Professor Al Nelson creating 3D-printable gels that exhibit stimuli responsive behaviors. Nathan plans on graduating next fall and continuing research in the Nelson Lab through the duration of the year. After graduation, Nathan plans on pursuing a PhD in chemistry likely focused on materials chemistry.

Dorothy Shimasaki Gilmer Endowed Scholarship
Pin-Ruei (Ray) Huang is a graduating senior majoring in chemistry. He has been in the research group of Assistant Professor Matthew Golder for the past two-and-half years working on cyclic polymers and their applications. Ray plans to continue on to graduate studies in organic materials after graduation. He hopes to stay involved in the research of materials chemistry to benefit the fields of technology or biomedicine.

Donald J. Hanahan Endowed Scholarship in Biochemistry
Meg Takezawa is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry. She has studied and engineered microfluidic tools to analyze cellular compounds and patient samples in the group of Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge. She is interested in learning more about the impacts of diseases on individual health and how their mechanisms can be better understood through research. Outside of school, Meg volunteers at a hospital to gain a comprehensive view of how diseases and treatments influence the lives of patients.

Christopher and Karen Pohl Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry
Hannah Lea is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry. Hannah has spent the last four years in the group of Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge studying a range of topics including cytokine stabilization, vasodilation in blood vessels, and idiopathic male infertility. Hannah is currently applying for PhD programs in cancer biology and plans to start graduate school in the fall. She is interested in doing clinical and translation research on pediatric brain tumors.

Rex J. and Ruth C. Robinson Scholarships in Chemistry
Jonathan Aalto is a sophomore from Kingston, Washington, majoring in biochemistry and applied mathematics. He currently studies the electrocatalytic applications of metal-organic compounds in the research group of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao. He plans to pursue a career in research, hoping to specialize in mathematical modeling of chemical systems, especially in catalysis and enzymology.

Anthony Heng is a graduating senior from Lynnwood, Washington pursuing a double degree in biochemistry and neuroscience. He became fascinated in uncovering the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease after interacting with many patients with dementia. Anthony has been a part of the Professor Valerie Daggett’s research group (Bioengineering) since his sophomore year studying proteins implicated in amyloidogenic diseases. He hopes to pursue a career in medicine where he can combine his passion for patient care and research.

Zalia Jencks Rowe Undergraduate Tuition Scholarships
Damielle Hieber is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in chemistry. She has been researching with Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge’s BCME lab since September 2021, focusing on microfluidics and biomedical applications. After graduation, Damielle will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a PhD student in the food science program.

Ashley Mahan is a graduating senior double majoring in biochemistry and physics. Last fall, she joined the group of Assistant Professor Matthew Golder to study polymer chemistry and gain hands on experience in an organic chemistry lab. Ashley is passionate about sustainability and equality. After graduation, she hopes to apply her research skills to help others. Outside of coursework, she enjoys dancing, cooking, and exploring nature.

Timberlake Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Students in Chemistry
Emma Miller is a second-year student pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program. Outside of her coursework, she conducts research in the group of Professor Pradipsinh Rathod studying antimalarials and their cellular targets. In her spare time, Emma spends her time climbing and hiking in the great outdoors.

Usha and S. Rao Varanasi Endowed Diversity Scholarships in Chemistry
Ally (Xinyi) Kong is a senior from Yunnan, China, majoring in biochemistry. She has always been intrigued by all the biochemical pathways and mechanisms of the human body, and she believes the human body to be the most exquisite instrument in the universe. Xinyi is currently working in the group of Professor Alex Merz (Biochemistry) focusing on protein induction and purification. In her free time, Xinyi is also the founder and honorary president of the Chinese Union at UW, where she and other Chinese international students work together to help and serve all the Chinese international students at UW; she believes that unity is strength. After she graduates, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering or another biochemistry-related field.

Karisse Yamamoto is a graduating senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in environmental health. She has participated in research regarding the use of plants to remove heavy metals in soil and microorganisms to recover and recycle nutrients (nitrogen/phosphorus) with Dr. Kiyono Masako in Kitasato University and with Associate Professor Mari Winkler at UW Civil & Environmental Engineering, respectively. With these research experiences in environmental bioremediation, she hopes to investigate the removal of contaminants and recovery of nutrients in storm water and wastewater.

Congratulations to all our scholarship recipients!

These scholarships, totaling $31,000 this year, are made possible through individual and corporate philanthropy supporting undergraduate study in the Department of Chemistry. Thank you to our alumni, friends, and corporate partners who give generously to the University of Washington.
If you have questions about giving to the University of Washington or how you can support students studying chemistry and biochemistry, please contact Diana Knight, advancement & communications manager.