Campus Life

Chemistry students at UWF recognized by national scholarship

Three students from the University of West Florida’s (UWF) Department of Chemistry were recently recognized by the American Chemistry Society (ACS) Scholars Program. For the 2012-13 academic year, the ACS Scholars Program awarded renewable scholarships to approximately 120 underrepresented minority students across the country who are interested in pursuing a career in chemistry or a chemistry related field.  Each recipient receives a renewable scholarship of up to $5,000 per year, and will be provided with mentoring and networking opportunities for securing the skills and credentials needed for success.

UWF students Tia Jarvis, Alexander Vega and Tashiema Wilson were awarded scholarships totaling $8,000 for the 2012-13 academic year.

“I applied at the beginning of the year and didn’t hear anything for a while,” said Jarvis, a junior chemistry student. “I didn’t want to be disappointed, but when I finally heard that I won, it was amazing.  This scholarship will allow me to do research, which I need to get into graduate school, instead of having to work so much to pay for my classes.”

The students said they were looking forward to working with a mentor who can help them better develop themselves as students and eventually professionals, and give them career advice.

“I’m looking forward to gleaning as much knowledge as I can from my mentor,” said Wilson, a sophomore in the program. “There’s so much I don’t know right now and I’m looking forward to learning all that I can from that voice of experience.”

Jarvis, Vega and Wilson admitted they would not have known about the program or applied for it if it were not for the guidance of Karen Molek, assistant professor in chemistry.

“I would never have come this far without the help of the professors in the chemistry department,” said Vega, a junior. “The opportunities are endless in my opinion because the Chemistry Department faculty are so willing to help students achieve their goals.”

The students believe their hard work, perfectionism to be the best students possible and devotion to their passion for chemistry is what helped set them apart from the rest.

Each of the students plans to go onto graduate school where they will continue doing research.

“I’m so excited to start doing research and applying all that I’ve learned,” said Wilson.

“Chemistry is definitely the subject for me,” said Jarvis who was awarded a summer research stipend and is currently doing research with Michael Huggins, professor in chemistry at UWF.

“This summer, I am at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) working with Michael Summers and I would like to continue research when I return to UWF,” said Vega. Summers is a professor in Chemistry, a Howard Hughes Investigator at UMBC and a UWF alumni.