2022 Sewer scholarship winners announced


The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates.

The ASBMB’s Maximizing Access Committee (formerly known as the Minority Affairs Committee) created this award in 2016 to support undergraduate students who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and enhance the diversity of science. This year, thanks in part to a generous donation from New England Biolabs, the ASBMB is awarding ten $2,000 scholarships that will be applied to undergraduate tuition costs.

The award honors Marion B. Sewer, an ASBMB member and past chair of the MAC who died in 2016 at age 43. Sewer was a principal investigator on projects devoted to increasing participation among historically underrepresented groups and furthering student training. Within the ASBMB, she organized the MAC’s Interactive Mentoring Activities for Grantsmanship Enhancement workshop for postdoctoral fellows and early-career scientists, known as IMAGE, which addresses disparities in scientists’ ability to secure federal research grants. She also wrote about issues that historically underrepresented scientists face, such as impostor syndrome.

Here, the 10 recipients of the 2022 Sewer scholarship describe their personal goals and how they promote diversity. Their statements have been edited.

Moyofoluwa (Rachel) Aguda, University at Buffalo

Moyofoluwa (Rachel) Aguda, University at Buffalo

My career goal is to become a physician–scientist working directly with patients while seeking applicable knowledge that can improve health through research. As a physician–scientist, I hope to bridge the communication gap between research, patients and their health treatment plans, while encouraging the rise of more physician–scientists. After graduation, I will take a gap year to fulfill my obligation to the National Institutes of Health as a trainee before applying to M.D.–Ph.D. programs.

Rita Anoh, Mount St. Mary’s University

Rita Anoh, Mount St. Mary’s University

After graduating with a double major in biochemistry and French, I intend to pursue my Ph.D. in biochemistry and structural biology and explore other areas of interest such as genetics and molecular biology during my training. As a scientist, my goal is to make science more accessible and to be a good mentor to trainees. I am passionate about not only inviting those from underrepresented backgrounds but also maintaining their active presence in the science community and fostering meaningful and productive experiences.

Sara Gallegos, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Sara Gallegos, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

My professional aspiration is to advocate for easier access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics and provide mentorship for others seeking it. As a part of this, I would like to see literature and research more accessible and understandable to the general public. I have been proud to serve underserved communities at Virginia Tech. As a Howard Hughes Medical Institute student fellow, I represent members of historically underrepresented groups within the biochemistry department and attend student-led panels on how the university can advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within STEM fields.

Natasha Garcia Rodriguez, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Natasha Garcia Rodriguez, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

My goal is to attend naturopathic medical school at the Sonoran University of Health Sciences and continue gaining research experience at the Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research. After completing these goals, I will be able to contribute a unique perspective to both naturopathic medicine and research, and I hope to serve as an ethnic minority woman health professional and researcher in my community, making a positive and productive impact on patients, students and science.

Michelle Haigbea, College of the Holy Cross

Michelle Haigbea, College of the Holy Cross

My career goal is to become a pharmacist and use my pharmacy degree to act as a trusted link between medical doctors and patients. Pharmacists double check the dose of medication and its interactions with other medications to improve patient experience and health. Pharmacists are among the most accessible health care professionals because they commonly work in community settings. With the busyness of life and the rise of many diseases and illnesses, I wish to be a professional who is accessible over the counter, with or without appointment.

Phinn Markson, Edgewood College

Phinn Markson, Edgewood College

I am a first-generation community college…



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