Evelyn Ramirez

STEM star: Spider named NSF fellow

May 3, 2024


Evelyn Ramirez, who graduated Sunday, took a challenging experience and found her life’s calling.

“After my first year at UR, I took a gap semester during which I attended community college virtually, worked full-time, and cared for my mom, who was recovering from surgery,” Ramirez said. “I saw the multiple medications my mom was prescribed, and it brought me to question what made each one distinctly operate and beneficial for her health.”

Ramirez has received a competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and will begin an organic chemistry Ph.D. program at Emory University this summer.

The chemistry major from Dallas is researching chemical synthesis related to pharmaceuticals under the mentorship of chemistry professors Emma Goldman and Raymond Dominey. Specifically, she hopes to help create anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial medications that are effective and safe for patients with fewer side effects.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $37,000 to support outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated the potential to be high-achieving scientists. Applicants must be pursuing full-time, research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM fields.

Ramirez said her NSF graduate fellowship will also support another passion. 

“As a first-generation, Mexican American woman, I want to highlight the importance of making STEM programs accessible to underrepresented minority students, and I strongly believe my graduate studies will allow me to help shape the future of a diverse group of chemistry researchers,” she said.

The Office of Scholars and Fellowships assists graduating seniors and recent alums with their applications for this fellowship opportunity.

“The fact that our students are so competitive for NSF graduate fellowships highlights the research experiences they are able to engage in alongside faculty mentors as undergraduates,” said Ethan Knight, associate director in the Office of Scholars and Fellowships.

Since 1955, 94 UR graduating seniors or recent graduates have been selected to receive either NSF graduate research fellowships or been named an honorable mention.