WU chemistry student earns national scholarship for her outreach work

by University Communications,

Jenny Grauberger ’15 — who devotes her education to empowering women and advancing medical research — is a national recipient of Iota Sigma Pi’s annual Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship, an annual award that recognizes excellence in chemistry or biochemistry.

“I was completely taken by surprise to get chosen for a national scholarship from among so many competitive women from larger universities,” says Grauberger, a chemistry major.

“Receiving this award has been a great academic honor, but also a verification that I have been putting my chemistry education to good use. Even more so, this award is important to me because it shows just how much support my professors within the department have given me.”

At Willamette, Grauberger is president of the Chemistry Club and an instructor in the Webber Program, a community service project in which women scholars serve as role models to elementary school girls and empower them to engage in math and science.

“I'm very excited that the science outreach work I have been doing with the Chemistry Club and the Webber Program has been recognized,” Grauberger says. “Women are still underrepresented in chemistry research, so it's important to continue to support and encourage them to enter the field.”

The $2,000 scholarship is awarded to two undergraduate Iota Sigma Pi members studying chemistry or biochemistry. Applicants are evaluated on their academic history, a personal statement and two letters of recommendation.

Chemistry professors Karen Holman and Sarah Kirk recommended Grauberger for the award, commending her for her leadership and determination.

“She has a drive and tenacity to get to the crux of a problem," Holman says. "Time and time again I saw that Jenny discusses a problem until she deeply understands the whole question and all of the possible answers and their nuances. I envision Jenny becoming a leader, teacher and mentor in her field.”

This summer Grauberger and Holman will conduct research on the activation parameters of the anti-cancer drug NAMI-A. The project will contribute to the study of the drug and give Grauberger a head start on her senior research.

After graduating from Willamette, Grauberger intends to attend medical school.

“I love that I can study the applications of chemistry to biological systems one day, then learn about quantum theory the next,” she says about her chosen field. “I'm never bored."

• Article by Emma Jonas ’15, creative writing major