AWIS Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients

June 9, 2023



Shelley O’Brien

Association for Women in Science Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to these inspiring AWIS members!

WASHINGTON DC, June 9, 2023 – The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) announces its 2023 Scholarship Award recipients. The AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarships are awarded to Uzezi Okinedo, Jessica Ramirez, Yasharah Raza, and Mayson Whipple. The AWIS Career Re-entry Scholarships are awarded to Asel Kabashi, PhD, and Hayley Mattison. The Dr. Vicki L. Schechtman Scholarship is awarded to Megan Loh. AWIS was able to increase the awards given this year thanks to a generous grant from the Danaher Foundation.

“We are so thankful to the Danaher Foundation for supporting AWIS’ mission of advancing women in their STEM career journeys. Their generosity has allowed us to almost double the number of scholarship awards this year – increasing our impact and the potential solutions these women will bring to society,” stated Meredith Gibson, CEO of AWIS.

Meet the 2023 AWIS Scholarship recipients:

Asel Kabashi, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the L.G. Rahme Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined the lab to study host tolerance to persistent infections following a break from academic science for child-rearing. Prior to that, she was a postdoc at Northeastern Universities Antimicrobial Discovery Center searching for new compounds against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, and elucidating their mechanism of action. Born and raised in Kyrgyzstan, she was trained as a medical doctor before completing her Ph.D. at the University of Leicester in the UK as a Faculty for the Future Fellow funded by the Schlumberger Foundation. Her thesis work was focused on the survival mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in non-permissive growth conditions.

Megan Loh is an undergraduate junior at Stanford University pursuing a major in Physics with a Notation in Science Communication. Her physics research has spanned projects on binary neutron stars, dark matter detection, and exotic materials in condensed matter. Outside academia, Megan is committed to making STEM education accessible for all, particularly young women. She has taken action at the policy level, presenting the common barriers to accessible science education for girls in science at the United Nations. And at the grassroots level, she has built her non-profit organization GEARup4Youth into a sustainable volunteering platform. She is currently serving as the co-president of Physics Undergraduate Women and Gender Minorities at Stanford to build a welcoming and inclusive community in the physics department.

Uzezi Okinedo was born and raised in Nigeria. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research utilizes the natural genetic diversity in rice species to identify genetic factors that can improve rice grain quality. She employs techniques in genomics, transcriptomics, and computational biology to recognize genetic variants controlling various rice grain properties.

Hayley Mattison earned her Ph.D. from University of Maryland, Baltimore in Physiology in 2010 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington and Massachusetts General Hospital until her son was born in 2017. She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and 6-year-old son.

Jessica Ramirez is a PhD candidate in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program at Rush University, where she is mentored by Dr. Animesh Barua, an expert in translational research on ovarian cancer. Her research focuses on aging and the development of ovarian cancer. Jessica aims to identify influential factors, biomarkers, or mechanisms that occur during aging in the ovaries and fimbriae, causing chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which may prompt the formation of mutagenic DNA-adducts and epigenetic changes, influencing age-associated malignant transformation of ovarian cancer.

Yasharah Raza is a PhD candidate in Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology, conducting her doctoral research at Stony Brook Medicine’s Cancer Center. Her translational cancer research focuses on new treatment options for Acute Erythroid Leukemia (one of the most aggressive subtypes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia) where patient survival is only 3 to 9 months on average. She also investigates how sphingolipids—named after the enigmatic sphinx—are involved in supporting both normal and cancerous red blood cells.

Mayson Whipple is a PhD candidate in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science department at Michigan State University, where she is mentored by Dr. Robert C. Ferrier Jr. Mayson’s interdisciplinary research focuses broadly on drug addiction treatment – from developing novel opioid vaccines to exploring the societal conditions necessary to mitigate the opioid epidemic.

Learn more about AWIS’ scholarships and awards. (You can even register to be contacted when they open next year.)


About AWIS: 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. In addition to scholarships, AWIS provides career resources, professional development, as well as networking, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities to build leadership skills. To learn more, visit and @AWISNational.