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National Science Foundation Honors Southwestern University Seniors with Research Fellowships

Southwestern University senior chemistry students Ana Alcaraz and Janel Owens have been awarded prestigious three-year graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Alcaraz, from Sealy, will attend Emory University next fall. Owens, a Uvalde native, has chosen to continue her studies at the University of California-Davis.

NSF graduate fellowships offer recognition and three years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences, including the history of science and the philosophy of science, and to research-based Ph.D. degrees in science education. Awards will carry a stipend for each fellow of $27,500 for a 12-month tenure and an annual cost-of-education allowance of $10,500, paid to the fellow’s institution in lieu of tuition and fees.

Alcaraz and Owens are only the third and fourth Southwestern students to receive NSF graduate fellowships. Owens plans to pursue doctoral work in toxicology, while Alcaraz’s interests lie in organic synthetic chemistry. At Southwestern, both students performed collaborative research with faculty in the Department of Chemistry.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer describes Owens as “a truly gifted student who remains completely unassuming about her considerable talents. Janel combines a stellar intellect and outstanding academics with social conscience and remarkable integrity.”

“Ana worked on an extremely difficult organic chemistry project–a new synthesis of the cancer preventative medicine tamoxifen,” says Professor of Chemistry Frank Guziec. “She laid the groundwork for the design and preparation of a whole new generation of similar medicines with greater efficacy and lowered side effects. Extraordinary work for an undergraduate scientist.”