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

2021 Awardees Announced

Please join us in congratulating this year’s scholarship recipients! Scroll through their profiles below.

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.

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 inaugural scholarship will be awarded in May 2021. Apply by March 10, 2021. (Please note the extension from the previous deadline of February 28.) 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 inaugural scholarship will be awarded in May 2021. Apply by March 10, 2021. (Please note the extension from the previous deadline of February 28.) 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

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 & Affiliate Committee based upon end-of-year reports submitted by chapters, and awards will be distributed by May 2021.

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.

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.


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.