Association for Women in Science Announces 2021 Scholarship Recipients

May 13, 2021



Shelley O’Brien

Association for Women in Science Announces 2021 Scholarship Recipients

Meet these driven, competent, and impressive AWIS members


WASHINGTON DC, May 13, 2021 – The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) announces the recipients of its 2021 Scholarship Awards. Sarah A. Berlinger is awarded the inaugural AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarship to support her dissertation research project. Drs. Janet Guss Darwich and Natalia Misunou are awarded the inaugural AWIS Opportunity Scholarships for Career Re-Entry.

“These women submitted strong applications demonstrating their research, experience, and outreach. AWIS is pleased to provide these awards to support their continued work, networking, and technology needs.” stated Sandy Robert, CEO of AWIS.

Research and development are critical to understanding the world around us, improving health outcomes, and increasing efficiency with innovative technologies. AWIS supports the professional development and equitable workplaces for women in science at all stages of their career so they can contribute to these advancements.

Career re-entry support is particularly needed for women scientists since women more often bear the burden of childcare and elder care responsibilities. This burden has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently stated, “Between February and April 2020, 4.2 million women dropped out of the labor force, in large part due to an unexpected caregiving burden. Nearly 2 million have not yet returned.”

Meet the 2021 AWIS Scholarship recipients:

Sarah A. Berlinger is a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is co-advised by Professor Bryan D. McCloskey and Dr. Adam Z. Weber (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab). Her research focuses on understanding multi-component interactions between catalyst particles, polymers, and solvents in fuel-cell electrode precursor inks, and how these forces drive electrode microstructure formation. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University.

Janet Guss Darwich, PhD completed her doctoral and postdoctoral studies at Columbia University in New York in 2006. Her graduate research focused on the neurobiology of feeding and human ingestive behavior, and she had spent over a decade engaged in a range of productive research projects at Columbia University. Her research career was put on hold after her son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His difficulties inspired her to return to her research career, and she is now collaborating with researchers at Reed College and Mt. Hood Community College, studying an animal model of autism.

Natalia Misunou, PhD was born in Poland and moved to the United States as a teenager. She studied at the University of Chicago and at the NIH within the Graduate Partnership Program with Johns Hopkins University. In the lab of Peter Lenart at the EMBL in Heidelberg, she used Correlated Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) to interrogate the minutia of nuclear envelope changes in starfish oocytes. Her findings are likely to have implications for nuclear rupture observed in cancer cells. After several years away from the bench, focused on raising her son, she plans to return to EMBL as a Scientific Officer in the Crocker Lab.

Read more about AWIS scholarships and awards.


About AWIS: The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. To learn more, visit and @AWISNational.