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Meet the 2023 Scholarship Winners!

Scholarship winners selected from two-year colleges and from four-year colleges will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet on September 30th. Here is information about the scholarships and this year’s winners. The scholarships are administered by the ACS PSS Education Committee. A flyer announcing the winners is here.

William J. Wasserman Scholarship for Students from Two-Year Colleges

The two-year college scholarship is named in honor of William (Bill) J. Wasserman (1925 – 2005). Bill was committed to excellence in chemistry education and the promotion of science. At Seattle Central Community, Bill Wasserman developed the chemistry program, expanding instruction to include organic chemistry classes and creating a novel training program in Chemical Technology. Bill was enormously optimistic about the potential for science education to provide opportunities to students and to improve the quality of life in Washington, and with this in mind, the Puget Sound Section of the American Chemical Society awards the William J. Wasserman Scholarship.

The 2023 Williiam J. Wasserman Scholarship winners are the following. Each winner provided a biographical statement for posting here.

Richelle L. Eary (Highline College)

Richelle Eary

Being confused on if nursing was what she really wanted, Richelle found a new love for science and chemistry. Changing her route to chemistry took her some extra time to get her Associates of Science in Chemistry but was finally achieved in Spring 2023 from Highline Community College. With new goals and aspirations Richelle was admitted to the University of Washington as a transfer student and will continue her studies this upcoming Fall. To be a professor is her ultimate goal, not just to teach but also to guide new college students, help them find more opportunities and to help shape them into incredible adults. In order to do that Richelle wants to get her doctorate in Organic Chemistry as well as do research studies throughout college to help tackle the world’s problems one by one. – R. Eary

Nicole A. Kovalchuk (Highline College)

Nicole graduated from Highline College as a Running Start student with an Associates in Biology and Valedictorian at her high school. She has transferred to the University of Washington, Tacoma where she will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences this autumn. Her love for biomedicine started after taking a Biomedical Research and Global Health summer course at the Puget Sound Skill Center. Nicole’s goal is to do lab research pertaining to disease treatment and prevention, hopefully contributing to further discovery of viable cancer treatments. – N. Kovalchuk


Julia A. Rutherford Scholarship for Students from Four-Year Colleges

Julia  Rutherford (1989 – 2011) was a 2008 graduate of Eatonville High School and a student at Pacific Lutheran University. She was killed on July 3, 2011 while hiking on snow near Aasgard Pass in the Cascade Mountains near Leavenworth, Washington. She was a highly accomplished student, athlete, musician and a natural leader involved in the Chemistry Club and ACS and pursuing a career in research. It is with these things in mind and Julia’s passion to help younger students and those with less privilege that the Puget Sound Section of the American Chemical Society named this award in her honor in 2012. The 2023 scholarship winners are:

The 2023 Julia A. Rutherford Scholarship winners are the following. Each winner provided a biographical statement for posting here.

Aiesha Baatarsuren Abdulla (Seattle University)

Aiesha is a driven fourth-year Biochemistry student at Seattle University, who aspires to pursue a career in medicine. During her time at Seattle University, she has actively engaged with the Chemistry department, holding the position of co-president for the school’s chapter of Chemistry Club. In this role, she strives to foster a strong sense of community and mentorship within the department. In the Latch Lab, Aiesha’s research focuses on photochemical processes and their effect on the degradation of contaminants which has equipped her with the necessary skills to take on the position of a teaching assistant for Quantitative Analysis. Aiesha is grateful for the support from faculty and peers who have contributed to creating a collaborative and motivating environment that has allowed her to excel in both her academic and professional pursuit. – A. B. Abdulla

Jared Litman (University of British Columbia)

Jared is a fifth-year undergraduate student at The University of British Columbia. For the past two years, Jared has been working as a teaching assistant for the first year teaching laboratories, where he enjoys inspiring his students’ interest in chemistry. He also has been working in the Nichols lab where he studies electrocatalytic CO2 reduction using ruthenium-based complexes. In the future, Jared plans on attending graduate school to continue studying electrochemistry with sustainable applications and would eventually like to become a full-time scientific researcher. – J. Litman

Rahoul Banerjee Ghosh (University of Washington)

Rahoul is currently an undergraduate student in chemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle, researching the properties of materials for clean energy production using quantum electronic structure methods in the Li Research Group and engaging in outreach programs with the Clean Energy Institute and the Molecular Engineering Materials Center. He plans to start graduate school next year, working towards climate change solutions through both sustainable technology and equitable global policy, as well as teaching and advocating for equity in science education at the primary, secondary and higher education levels. – R. Banerjee Ghosh


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Respect scholarship (Inaugural Year)

This scholarship is specifically for underrepresented minority students in chemistry who identify as one or more of the following: Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous (American Indian, Alaskan native), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, African American/Black. The scholarship was established in 2023 and is funded by an ACS Grant and donations from Local Section members. The 2023 scholarship winner is Sofia Velasquez from Evergreen State College.

Sofia Velazquez (The Evergreen State College)

Sofia Velazquez is a student currently attending Evergreen State College. In the past academic year, she successfully completed the course “Matter and Motion,” which encompassed the subjects of chemistry, physics, and calculus. Demonstrating her passion and proficiency in these subjects, Sofia is now actively engaged as a science and math tutor at her college. Her dedication to academia and exceptional performance have earned her the opportunity to become a program aid for the “Matter and Motion” course in the upcoming year. Driven by her love for mathematics and the sciences, Sofia is diligently working towards earning her Bachelor of Science degree, which is expected to be conferred in 2025. She aspires to pursue a fulfilling career in the field of math and science, where she can contribute her knowledge and skills to making a positive impact on society. – S. Velazquez

Please come to the Annual Awards Banquet on September 30th to meet these outstanding scholarship recipients, as well as to honor ACS members celebrating their 50-, 60-, or 70-year membership anniversaries. Please visit the Annual Awards Banquet page to register by September 15th.

The information about the scholarships and awardees here is provided with thanks to the Education Committee.

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