Posted on June 2, 2023 by College of Sciences

Kaitlyn Varela

Chemistry Doctoral Student Recognized for Prestigious Research Award

By Ryan Schoensee

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Varela, a chemistry doctoral student who was recently selected as the recipient of the 2023 Merck Research Award for Underrepresented Chemists of Color. The award recognizes graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for their chemical science research across a range of areas, including computational, analytical, medicinal, biological and synthetic chemistry.

To apply for the award, Kaitlyn submitted a research summary, CV, personal statement, and recommendation letter from Francis Yoshimoto, her research advisor and assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.

Kaitlyn will be paired with several mentors at Merck, attend an award symposium in Rahway, NJ in September, and also have access to a series of professional seminars and workshops.

"I am so excited for the opportunity to network with scientists in an industrial setting and see what industry is like before I graduate in spring 2024," said Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn was also selected to attend the DOW BEST (Building Engineering & Science Talent) Symposium, which will be held from July 24-27 in Midland, MI where she'll have the opportunity to visit and present her research at both Merck and DOW's company sites.

Kaitlyn started at UTSA as a freshman in the UT CAP program but decided to remain a Roadrunner after her first semester. In spring 2020, she graduated from both the College of Sciences and the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.

After completing her undergrad, Kaitlyn decided to continue her education and pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the UTSA Graduate School because she enjoyed the research opportunities available in the program. Kaitlyn's research experience includes studying the chemistry and biology of bioactive natural products from the medicinal plant, Artemisia annua. She is a Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellow, and an NSF GRFP fellow.

— College of Sciences