2023-2024 Chemistry Scholarship and Book Award Recipients

Submitted by Diana Knight on
Congratulations, Scholars!
Dylan Abramson
Logan Davis
Jolene Nguyen
Michael Rosen
Tara Young
Afrah Aftab
Audrey Hill
Jeremiah Myint
Amol Gajendragadkar
Tristan Jafari
Ziao Yin
Meg Takezawa
Aaron Weaver
Jacob Nichols
Fevet Ibrahim
EJ Brannan
Benjamin Mustonen
Omeed Yazdani
Victoria Pang
Kamaya Ronning
Jacqueline Heidy

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

H. K. Benson Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship

Dylan Abramson is a second-year undergraduate student studying biochemistry. He is intrigued by biological chemistry's ability to illuminate new understandings of human biology. For the past year, Dylan has been learning the ropes of chemistry research working on unstudied bacterial enzyme mechanisms. He plans to pursue a career in biochemical research and hopes his work will have an impact on how we view human health.

Gerald and Sheila Berkelhammer Book Award

Logan Davis is a third-year majoring in biochemistry. Logan is a recent member of Professor Rachel Klevit's research group (Biochemistry), and he is currently working to characterize how phosphorylation of the Alzheimer's-associated protein tau impacts its interface with the "first responders" of the cell. After graduation, Logan plans to work abroad in Spain for a year before applying to graduate programs in biochemistry.

Jolene Nguyen is a sophomore studying chemistry. She is currently an undergraduate researcher in Associate Professor Jesse Zalatan’s lab, where she is engineering metalloenzymes to have non-native C-H functionalization activity. Jolene hopes to apply her research experiences to a combined PharmD/PhD program, where she would like to understand the interactions between medications and the human body. Outside of research, she is an executive officer in UW’s Pre-Pharmacy Club, plays viola in the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestra, and enjoys running and kayaking. 

Michael Rosen is a second-year student completing a double major in chemistry and physics, with a minor in applied mathematics. He currently works as an undergraduate researcher with the McCoy group, developing a theoretical model describing the rotational-vibrational dynamics of H2O∙I-. Michael is also a member of the UW Physics Mentoring Program, where he works with first year students currently taking the introductory physics series. After graduating, Michael plans to pursue a PhD focused at the intersection of chemistry and its underlying physical principles.

Boeing Scholarship

Tara Young is a third year Interdisciplinary Honors student majoring in biochemistry and minoring in bioethics. She conducts protein biochemistry research on essential DNA replication proteins topoisomerases in Assistant Professor Monica Guo’s group (Microbiology). After graduating, she plans to attend an MD/Ph.D. program to apply innovative structural biochemistry research techniques to cancer treatments as a physician scientist. In addition to her research, Tara enjoys serving as the President of Free Radicals where she works to foster the community for undergraduate students in the chemistry department.

Leland and Eleanor Burger Endowed Scholarship

Afrah Aftab is a graduating senior from Richland, Washington pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry and college honors. She is part of Associate Chair of Research Professor Stefan Stoll's group, currently working on developing methods of EPR spectroscopy by investigating the effects of protons on EPR signal sensitivity in proteins. Afrah is very passionate about pursuing a career in medicine where she can integrate her love of learning and research with patient care. She aspires to become a general surgeon.

Audrey Hill is a graduating senior majoring in chemistry. 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 the UW. After graduation, Audrey plans to earn the Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry at University of California, Berkeley while serving in the Army National Guard. Outside of classes and lab, Audrey enjoys hiking and climbing.

Leland and Eleanor Burger Endowed Book Award

Brisa is a UW student majoring in chemistry. She enjoys helping others and hopes to make a difference in the world using chemistry. Brisa is interested in conducting research and focusing her work in medicinal chemistry. After graduating, she hopes to attend graduate school to further specialize in the field of chemistry.

James B. and Elzelina J. Callis Endowed Scholarship

Jeremiah Myint is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry. For the past two years, he has been participating in translational lung biology research with Dr. Michael Mulligan, Dr. Jay Pal and Dr. Billanna Hwang in the UW Department of Surgery focusing on exosomes and their potential therapeutic uses in lung transplant recipients. Jeremiah hopes to use his skills and lived experiences to be a culturally competent and empathetic physician, teacher, and leader in science. In his free time, Jeremiah performs regularly with a hip-hop/R&B band and a funk/jazz trio playing the bass throughout Greater Seattle.

Chemistry Scholarship

Amol Gajendragadkar found himself on a surprising and transformative path to studying biochemistry. Initially entering the field with little background, he stumbled upon a faculty retreat and the fascinating world of mitochondria in 2021. He took an advanced genomics class the same quarter, which serendipitously lead him to declare biochemistry as his major. Motivated by family circumstances, Amol determined to delve deeper into biomedicine. He enrolled in honors biochemistry, taught by the same inspiring speaker from the faculty retreat. In autumn 2023, he began serving as an Undergraduate TA for Honors Biochemistry. Amol is proud of his resilience and dedication to his academic pursuits.*

Tristan Jafari is a second-year biochemistry student and an undergraduate researcher in the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Mauricio Dorfman. Currently, he is working on a project that explores the impact of astrocyte inflammation and high-fat feeding on the development of cardiometabolic syndrome. Jafari is fascinated by the interplay between cellular signaling pathways and metabolic dysfunction, particularly as they relate to conditions that involve heart health and acute medical interventions. Eager to blend clinical practice with translational research, Jafari plans to earn an M.D. and specialize in emergency medicine or endocrinology.

Ziao Yin is a junior majoring in biochemistry and computer science. He has spent the majority of his undergraduate career with the research group of Professor Charles Murry at ISCRM, studying various therapies for cardiomyopathies. In the future, Ziao is interested in learning more about the applications of stem cells in new fields and pathologies. He plans to further his career in medicine and pursue medical school after graduation.

Earl W. Davie Endowed Scholarship in Biochemistry

Meg Takezawa is a graduating senior majoring in chemistry. 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 will begin Ph.D. studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to study 2D materials for clean energy applications.

Dorothy Shimasaki Gilmer Endowed Scholarship

Aaron Weaver is a graduating senior majoring in chemistry and physics. In 2021, he joined the lab of Professor David Ginger to study perovskite solar cells. His current research uses photoluminescence spectroscopy to investigate charge carrier dynamics in perovskite solar cells. He is passionate about clean energy and wants to use spectroscopy to develop a better understanding of energy conversion processes. This fall, Aaron will be pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Caltech.

Donald J. Hanahan Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry or Biochemistry

Jacob Nichols is a passionate scholar in chemistry and biochemistry who conducts research with the group of Professor Champak Chatterjee. This scholarship has alleviated the financial burden of tuition, allowing him to focus on pushing the boundaries of his work. Jacob hopes to honor the legacies of Professors Hanahan and Earl Davie and to inspire others as he advances in his career with an ultimate goal of being a physician-scientist.*

Christopher and Karen Pohl Endowed Fund in Chemistry

Ethan Cheney is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in bioengineering. He is interested in studying old age diseases and cellular senescence in order to meet the emerging medical needs of our society. Inside of school he enjoys his chemistry and applied mathematics courses, as well as being a leader of the Washington iGEM synthetic biology team. Outside of school you may find him running, bouldering, sailing, or just reading.

Fevet Ibrahim is a second-year undergraduate pursuing triple degrees in biochemistry, neuroscience, and philosophy. She is fascinated by the comprehensive and multi-layered nature of human beings, from cellular and molecular interactions to cognizant beings who create and build complex ideas. Specifically, Fevet is interested in the biochemistry of the human brain: how chemical mechanisms influence neurological processes. She hopes to spend time researching these mechanisms as an MD-PhD student and further as an attending pediatric functional neurosurgeon.

Rex J. and Ruth C. Robinson Scholarship Fund in Chemistry

EJ Brannan is a graduating senior 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 how to synthetically control MOF architectures and identify relationships between their structures and physical properties. Next year, he will begin the Ph.D. program in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he plans to specialize in synthetic inorganic chemistry.

Benjamin Mustonen is a third-year student majoring in biochemistry. For the last year and a half, he has been conducting research in the Vaughan Lab within the chemistry department. During this time, he has been developing a method to correlate age-related phenotypes in the kidney using fluorescence microscopy. Additionally, he also volunteers as a tutor for the general and organic chemistry series. In the future, Benjamin hopes to conduct translational nephrology research with a specific focus on kidney disease.

Omeed Yazdani is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and bioengineering. For the past 3 years he has worked in the research group of Professor Suzie Pun studying polymeric drug carriers for cancer immunotherapy both in vivo and in vitro. He hopes to pursue a career as physician scientist in the future, so he plans to obtain a master's degree in bioengineering after graduation before matriculating to medical school.

Zalia Jencks Rowe Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship

Victoria Pang is a third-year student pursuing dual degrees in biochemistry with departmental honors and English. For the past two years, she has worked under assistant professor Dan Fu's lab, investigating the mechanisms of cancer drug resistance using a combination of bulk biochemical assays and single-cell imaging techniques in hopes of translating the findings for a live mouse model. After graduation, she hopes to continue exploring the pharmaceutical sciences either as a pharmacist or through working with biotech companies. Outside of research, she enjoys writing stories and cooking.

Kamaya Ronning is a sophomore majoring in chemistry with a minor in applied mathematics. For the past year and a half she has worked in the research lab of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao studying catalysis in metal organic frameworks. After her undergraduate degree, Kamaya hopes to pursue graduate studies in inorganic chemistry. Outside of school, she enjoys playing water polo, reading, and running.

Timberlake Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Students in Chemistry

Jacqueline Heidy is a third-year international transfer student from Jakarta, majoring in biochemistry. She is a writer for ENZYME UW, a public health focused academic and literary journal RSO, and a mentee for the Biochemistry Undergraduate Reading Program (BURP) which provided Jacqueline with the opportunity to present in their spring symposium. Jacqueline’s long-term goal is to pursue a master’s degree in clinical investigation and/or a doctorate degree in pharmacy.

Congratulations to all our scholarship recipients!
These scholarships, totaling $34,950 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.

Scholarship recipients who did not express explicit consent to have their names, bios, or photos published are not included here.
*Some content on this page was generated by ChatGPT, an AI language model by OpenAI, based off pieces written by the students themselves as source material.