March 26, 2015

UAB students win two of nation’s 15 prestigious UNCF/Merck scholarships

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merck 1Brittney Coleman and Nathan Oluwagbemiga LarindeBrittney Coleman and Nathan Oluwagbemiga Larinde, honors students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, have been selected to receive the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative scholarship. The prestigious award is given to only 15 undergraduate students nationally each year, and UAB has had 14 winners since 2008.

UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards are intended to help African-American undergraduate students further their science education and pursue science and engineering careers. 

Both Coleman, a junior in the School of Engineering, and Larinde, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, are members of the UAB Honors College’sScience and Technology Honors Program.

“As an aspiring physician-scientist, I am honored to be selected as a UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Research Fellow,” said Coleman, biomedical engineering major. “This is a phenomenal opportunity to further demonstrate my unwavering desire and dedication to biomedical research and the medical field.”

“Winning the UNCF/Merck fellowship is a dream come true, and it’s such a great feeling knowing that hours and days of studying and research hours resulted in a great outcome,” said Larinde, neuroscience major. “I have wanted to win this prestigious award since the first day I heard about it, and with the help of my lab mentor who gave me the chance at research and my family and friends who cheered me on, I was able to achieve this goal.”

Larinde works with Kazutoshi Nakazawa, M.D., associate professor in the UAB School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. Coleman researches in the lab of Brian Sims, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.

merck 2Solomon GibsonThe scholarship includes participation in an internship in a chosen field of research at a Merck facility in Boston, Pennsylvania or New Jersey for 10-12 weeks this summer. It also includes a scholarship of up to $30,000, which includes up to $25,000 toward tuition, room and board.

“I am so very excited for our students and proud of their accomplishments,” said Shannon Blanton, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Honors College. “This prestigious national award provides new opportunities for each of them to further pursue their education and to build upon the excellent foundation in scientific research they have achieved here at UAB.”

Solomon Gibson, a chemistry major and member of the UAB Honors College’s Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, has been designated an alternate for this award. Gibson does research in a Department of Physics lab with Associate Professor Andrei Stanishevsky, Ph.D.