Alison Wang, a junior in chemistry, has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for 2022-23.
Alison enrolled at the U in 2019 and declared chemistry as her major, with her eyes set on going to medical school. However, her honors general chemistry professor, Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, encouraged her to seek a research opportunity in Caroline Saouma’s lab as a first-year-student.
Unfortunately the pandemic delayed Alison's start to lab work until fall of her sophomore year, but she came to love research – so much so that she now is planning to enroll in either an M.D./Ph.D. or Ph.D. program.
Her research is focused on mechanistic studies for the electrocatalytic reduction to CO2 to CO or formate at Mn centers. She was a UROP scholar (twice), and participated in the department of chemistry’s NSF-funded REU program last summer.
These opportunities helped Alison gain valuable skills in communicating science, which she refined in February at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR). She secured funding through the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) to present a poster at the spring national American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in San Diego in March, where she won the division of inorganic chemistry’s undergraduate poster award (one of only five!).
The conference also allowed her to explore other areas of chemistry, and has helped her hone in on the field of bioinorganic chemistry for her Ph.D. She clearly is a chemist who is off to a fantastic research career!
Alison is a first-generation Chinese American, having lived all over the US before graduating high school in Utah. In addition to her studies and research, Alison works at the Utah Lions Eye Bank and as a waitress. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing, eating at Osteria Amore, and is helping to train a guide dog.
In addition to the Goldwater scholarship Alison has also received the Laya F. Kesner and Leon Watters Memorial Award, and the Undergraduate Research Scholarship from the University of Utah Department of Chemistry.