2022-2023 Chemistry Scholarship and Book Award Recipients

Submitted by Diana Knight on
Aletta Li
Meg Takezawa
Jonathan Aalto
Aarun Hendrickson
Daniel Ong
Sarah Stucky
Zicong Li
Jeremiah Myint
Hana Khan
Tara Young
Vivian Li
Kelsey Zimmerman
EJ Brannan
Audrey Hill
Ruibing Wu
Catherine MacNary
Angela Guo
Afrah Aftab

We are pleased to introduce you to our undergraduate students supported by departmental scholarships and book awards! Note: Some scholarship recipients declined to have their names, bios, or photos published.

H. K. Benson Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship
Aletta Li is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry. She is an undergraduate researcher with Associate Professor Andrew Oberst (Immunology) and has been working on cancer immunology. Aletta is also a CLUE tutor and was a FIG leader in autumn quarter. She enjoys researching and helping others by sharing her experiences. After graduation, she plans to continue exploring life sciences either through a Ph.D. program or by helping develop products in biotech companies. She hopes to contribute to more scientific discoveries and assist more people in their studies by sharing what she learns.

Gerald and Sheila Berkelhammer Book Awards
Julie Schwartz

Meg Takezawa is a third-year student majoring in biochemistry. Since her first year at UW, she has been working in the research group of Associate Professor Ashleigh Theberge to develop bioanalytical chemistry tools (specifically microfluidic devices) to analyze symptoms and cellular interactions. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry or chemical biology to study the chemical foundations of biological processes.

Boeing Scholarship
Jonathan Aalto is a junior majoring in chemistry and applied mathematics. He works in the research group of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao on a project to study supramolecular cages as catalysts for organic electrosynthesis. Jonathan plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry after graduation, specifically in the fields of clean energy or renewable materials. Outside of class and the laboratory, he enjoys hiking in the many mountains around Seattle, with a particular fondness for Olympic National Park.

Leland and Eleanor Burger Endowed Scholarships
Aarun Hendrickson is a junior double majoring in biochemistry and neuroscience. He is fascinated by the brain and is interested in using biochemistry techniques to further study processes of aging and Alzheimer's Disease. He currently works as an undergraduate researcher with Assistant Professor Kimberly Alonge (Medicinal Chemistry). He plans to pursue a career in research by applying to either Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs this upcoming year.

Daniel Ong is a senior studying chemistry and biochemistry. He is currently conducting research in Associate Professor Jesse Zalatan's group developing metalloenzymes with new-to-nature C-H functionalization activity. Daniel hopes to harness biology for the sustainable synthesis of chemicals that benefit human lives. After graduation, he will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry with a focus on chemical biology. Outside of the lab, Daniel teaches as a general chemistry TA, does outreach as an Undergraduate Research Leader, and plays the cello in the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestra.

James B. and Elzelina J. Callis Endowed Book Award
Sarah Stucky is a graduating senior in the Interdisciplinary Honors program studying biochemistry with a minor in chemistry. She is a member of the UW Emergency Medicine Research Group and works on a variety of clinical research studies. Her primary project investigates mechanisms by which traumatic injuries impact biochemical clotting pathways. She plans to continue to purse clinical research after graduation and apply to medical school.

Chemistry Scholarships
Zicong Li is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in data science. He has been an undergraduate researcher in the group of Professor Hannele Ruohola-Baker (Biochemistry). As a member of the dental team in the lab, he models defects in human enamel development using in vitro 3D-cultured organoids derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Specifically, he studies how knocking out the AMBN gene contributes to abnormality in polarization of ameloblasts, which are cells that synthesize and deposit enamel in the oral cavity. After graduation, he plans to apply to dental schools and pursue a career in dentistry in both clinical practice and academic research.

Ian Lyons

Jeremiah Myint is a junior majoring in biochemistry. For the past several months, he has been participating in translational lung biology research with Professor Michael Mulligan and Dr. Billanna Hwang in the UW Department of Surgery. Jeremiah hopes to specialize in Emergency Medicine and use his skills and lived experiences to be a culturally competent and empathetic healthcare provider, teacher, and leader in science. In his free time, Jeremiah loves to play the electric and upright bass and indulge in avant-garde jazz listening.

Earl W. Davie Endowed Scholarship in Biochemistry
Hana Khan is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry. For the past year, she has been working in Dr. Harmit Malik’s lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Dr. Malik’s lab works on deciphering the consequences of evolutionary changes in both intra- and inter-genomic conflicts in multiple organisms. Currently, Hana is working on a project studying the function and evolutionary consequences of H2A histone variants H2A.X and H2A.Z in budding yeast under the mentorship of Dr. Pravrutha Raman. In the future, Hana plans on going to medical school and pursuing the M.D./Ph.D. path.

Donald J. Hanahan Endowed Scholarship in Biochemistry
Tara Young is a second year Interdisciplinary Honors student majoring in biochemistry and minoring in bioethics. She conducts protein biochemistry research, interrogating the recruitment of essential DNA replication proteins topoisomerases in Assistant Professor Monica Guo’s group (Microbiology). She is interested in learning more about mechanisms of DNA replication, repair, and gene expression, and their role in the development of disease. Tara plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in protein biochemistry to continue exploring cellular machinery underlying life, and its application in the medical treatment of cancers.

Zalia Jencks Rowe Undergraduate Tuition Scholarships
Vivian Li is a graduating senior pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry in the Departmental Honors Program. She has been conducting research for the past two years in the group of Dr. Kristina Adams-Waldorf (Obstetrics and Gynecology) to investigate the susceptibility of pregnant women to influenza A virus infection. After graduation, Vivian plans to attend graduate school in the field of immunology and pursue her passion to study viral pathogenesis and T cell functions. It is her hope that she can inspire the next generation of basic sciences researchers through mentorship and create an innovative community in basic sciences and public health.

Kelsey Zimmerman is a third-year majoring in chemistry. She has spent the last year in the research group of Assistant Professor Alexandra Velian studying transition metal complexes for C-H functionalization applications. Kelsey is interested in the applications that this chemistry has to clean energy and building a sustainable future. She is also an officer of the RSO Organic Steps, a club that provides tutoring to organic chemistry students. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation.

Christopher and Karen Pohl Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry
Anna Anderson

EJ Brannan is a junior majoring in chemistry and minoring in music. He joined the group of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao in summer 2021 to study a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). His research aims to better understand charge transport and magnetism in MOFs to enable the design of new conductive porous materials that can use electricity to drive chemical processes. To achieve this, he is synthesizing a series of highly-tunable 1D metal-organic chains to study how structural parameters influence these materials’ overall electrical and magnetic properties.

Rex J. and Ruth C. Robinson Scholarships in Chemistry
Audrey Hill is a third-year chemistry major from Maryland. She works as an undergraduate research assistant in the group of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao working with metal organic macrocycles. Audrey is also a cadet in the Army ROTC program at University of Washington. After graduation, Audrey plans to earn the PhD in inorganic chemistry while serving in the Army National Guard. Outside of classes and lab, Audrey enjoys hiking and climbing. 

Ruibing Wu is a senior double majoring in biochemistry and molecular, cell and developmental biology. During her college studies, she was intrigued by studying potential cancer drug treatments and diagnostic methods. Ruibing works with Associate Professor Dan Fu’s research group where she applies a mouse dorsal skin chamber (DSC) for tumor growth in vivo imaging. The objective of this project is to quantify the intracellular tyrosine-kinase inhibitor’s (TKI) drug concentrations in human lung cancer tumors in vivo with a mouse model. Ruibing plans to graduate in June 2023 and became a PhD student to further study in the pharmaceutics field.

Dorothy Shimasaki Gilmer Endowed Scholarship
Catherine MacNary is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry. During her time at UW she had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research in two labs. In the group of Dr. Benjamin Freedman (Nephrology), Katie worked on genome editing techniques in kidney organoids. In the group of Assistant Professor Patrick Mitchell (Microbiology), she studied inflammasome activation in intestinal organoids. Ultimately, Katie hopes to go to medical school and become an oncologist.

Timberlake Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Students in Chemistry
Angela Guo is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and chemistry. She works in the group of Associate Professor Libin Xu (Medicinal Chemistry) studying ferroptosis mediated by polyunsaturated fatty acids. After graduation, Angela plans to work for a year before pursuing graduate studies in biochemistry. She hopes to use her love for chemistry and biochemistry to contribute to cancer research. In her free time, she enjoys learning salsa and tango.

Usha and S. Rao Varanasi Endowed Diversity Scholarships in Chemistry
Afrah Aftab is a sophomore from Richland, Washington pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry and interdisciplinary honors. She is part of Professor Stefan Stoll’s group, currently working on synthesizing proteins using E. coli cells for EPR spectroscopy to study protein structure and function. Afrah is very passionate about pursuing a career in medicine where she can integrate her love of learning with patient care. She plans to graduate in 2024 and aspires to become a general surgeon.

Rahoul Banerjee Ghosh is a second-year chemistry major working with Professor David Ginger, studying the programmable self-assembly of nanoparticles with the hope of developing organic-inorganic complexes for photovoltaics, photodynamic cancer therapy and drug delivery systems. Having grown up in Kolkata, India surrounded by teachers and academics, he hopes to become one himself, and is currently working towards that goal by tutoring students in Seattle Public Schools and at the Robinson Center on campus. He plans to pursue graduate and doctoral studies focused on developing solutions to climate change challenges, through both sustainable technology and environmental policy based on global equity.

Congratulations to all our scholarship recipients!

These scholarships, totaling $36,250 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.