Advancing Women in Science

Awards and scholarships provide visibility
and recognition of the contributions of brilliant
scientists. They also offer role models and
encouragement to the next generation.


Sarah Richardson, Ph.D.
CEO, MicroByre
2020 Next Generation Award Recipient

2022 Applications are open!

Apply now for one of our many scholarships! Scroll down to learn more.

Scholarship and Grant Descriptions

These annual prizes support the professional development and advancement of AWIS members. Due to the generous support of our donors, AWIS has awarded over 30 scholarships in the last decade and awarded hundreds of grants to local AWIS chapters. 

AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarship

Awarded to an AWIS member whose dissertation research project is judged likely to make important and original contributions to her field. This $10,000 award is intended for a pre-doctoral student in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Mathematics or Engineering who is a woman expecting to graduate within 2 years of the application deadline. The scholarship will be awarded in May 2022. Apply by February 28, 2022. Not an AWIS member? Consider joining.

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Professional Goals Essay (500 – 1,000 words)
  • Resume/CV
  • Research synopsis
  • Recommendation letter from current professor, advisor, dissertation committee member or most recent employer
  • Recommendation letter from a past professor, past employer, colleague or other professional acquaintance
  • Program acceptance letter (optional)
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Intended use of funds

AWIS Opportunity Scholarships for Career Re-entry

Up to four women (AWIS members with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field) will receive individual awards of $2,500 to be used for expenses that will support and enable return to a STEM career after being out of the workforce for more than two years. Scholarships may be used for job search fees, technology needs, commuting, family care, additional education, participation in an incubator, or start-up fees for a scientific innovation or product. The scholarship will be awarded in May 2022. Apply by February 28, 2022. Not an AWIS member? Consider joining.

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Professional Goals Essay (500 – 1,000 words)
  • Resume/CV
  • Intended use of funds
  • Unofficial transcript (optional)
  • Recommendation letter from professor, former employer, or new organization
  • Recommendation letter from an external person familiar with your work and its impact

Kirsten R. Lorentzen Award

Funded by the AWIS Educational Foundation, this $2,000 award goes to an undergraduate woman studying physics, geophysics, or geoscience. Applications are due March 15 to the Society of Physics Students, an organization of the American institute of Physics. The SPS Scholarship Committee will determine the recipients. Applicants must be active members of the SPS national organization.

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • Outline of the physics and related courses
  • Written statement of career objectives
  • Written statement of participation in SPS activities
  • Written statement providing evidence of being an exceptionally well-rounded female student
  • Certification from the Department Chair
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members

Dr. Vicki L. Schechtman Scholarship

This scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded to a college undergraduate in her Freshman through Junior year whose field of study will be one of the sciences recognized by the National Science Foundation and continues Dr. Schechtman’s dreams of scientific progress.  The inaugural scholarship will be awarded May 2022. Apply by February 28, 2022. Not an AWIS member? Consider joining.

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Professional/Academic Goals Essay (500-1,000 words)
  • Resume/CV
  • Intended use of funds
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Must be a woman currently enrolled in a US based college or university
  • Studying a field in the sciences
  • Two written references regarding her scientific ability and interests

AWIS Shooting Star Chapter Grants

These awards provide AWIS Chapters with an additional $500-1000 for local programming and activities such as K-12 science fairs, mentoring programs, advocacy, outreach, college scholarships, entrepreneurship, and leadership training. Chapter grant recipients are selected by AWIS’ Chapter A Committee based upon end-of-year reports submitted by chapters, and awards will be distributed by May 2022.

Annual AWIS Awards

These awards recognize individuals, companies and organizations who are trailblazers making significant contributions to increasing workplace diversity, promoting women in leadership positions and advocating for more inclusive practices in STEM. Meet the 2020 recipients.

AWIS Pinnacle Award

Honors an individual’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.

AWIS Leadership Award

Commends an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

AWIS Next Generation Award

Highlights an early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

AWIS Gamechanger Award

Recognizes an exemplary company whose diversity and inclusion efforts represent a true ally to the pursuit of workplace equality.

2021 Awardees

Sarah A. Berlinger


Sarah A. Berlinger is a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is co-advised by Professor Bryan D. McCloskey and Dr. Adam Z. Weber (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab). Her research focuses on understanding multi-component interactions between catalyst particles, polymers, and solvents in fuel-cell electrode precursor inks, and how these forces drive electrode microstructure formation. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University where she researched battery charging protocols for capacity recovery and bioelectrochemical fuel production pathways. Sarah is involved with Bay Area Scientists in Schools and mentors undergraduate researchers.

Natalia Misunou, PhD


Natalia was born in Poland and moved to the United States as a teenager. She attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate before joining the lab of Yikang Rong at the NIH within the Graduate Partnership Program with Johns Hopkins University. For her thesis work, she explored how telomeres participate in genome organization. In the lab of Peter Lenart at the EMBL in Heidelberg, she used Correlated Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) to interrogate the minutia of nuclear envelope changes in starfish oocytes – demonstrating that actin shell drives a process of sorting pore-rich and pore-devoid membranes. These findings are likely to have implications for nuclear rupture observed in cancer cells. After a couple years away from the bench, focused on raising her son, she plans to return to EMBL as a Scientific Officer in the Crocker Lab.

Janet Guss Darwich, PhD


Janet Guss Darwich completed her doctoral and postdoctoral studies at Columbia University in New York in 2006. Her graduate research focused on the neurobiology of feeding and human ingestive behavior, and she had spent over a decade engaged in a range of productive research projects at Columbia University. After relocating to Portland, Oregon, Dr. Guss Darwich’s research career was put on hold while she focused on meeting the needs of her son who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His difficulties inspired her to return to her research career, and she is now collaborating with researchers at Reed College and Mt. Hood Community College, studying an animal model of autism.

Makyla Boyd

WINNER, 2021 Kristen R. Lorentzen Award. 

Makyla Boyd is a senior at Coe College pursuing a degree in physics. She is also involved in the music program at Coe. She is the current president of Coe College’s Physics Club, vice president of the WinSTEM Club, and secretary of the Mu Phi chapter. This past summer, she completed a WAVE fellowship at Caltech which aims to foster diversity by increasing the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering Ph.D. programs and making Caltech’s programs more visible and accessible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. She plans to continue her education by going to graduate school and earning a Ph.D. in either material science or mechanical engineering.



Thank you to our featured partners for their support of AWIS and the AWIS Foundation Awards.

We would also like to thank the Scholarship Committee for the administration of these programs.

We are grateful for all AWIS donors and supporters for helping women in science and related STEM fields achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. 

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1629 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 827-9798

© 2021 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.