Overview of the awards


BCSO Student Award

The Biological Chemistry Student Organization (BCSO) was founded in August 2002 by former graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB). The purpose of the BCSO is to promote development and growth of graduate students enrolled in the BMB Graduate Program. The current BCSO members are involved in a number of departmental activities that bridge faculty and students. These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Student participation in BMB faculty committees
  • Assisting in student and faculty recruitment
  • UTMB representation in the Capitol Hill Day in Washington DC
  • Organization of the "Pioneering Biological Discovery Seminar Series", the first student-hosted seminar series in the department
  • Participation and organization of the holiday toy drive in collaboration with the Graduate Student Organization
  • Promotion of social activities such as off-campus events and informal cookouts
  • Organization of monthly student meetings to keep the students informed about academics, social events and student life

Description of Award

This award is given to a student who has made significant contributions to the growth and development of the graduate program through the BCSO, BMB or SBB while demonstrating outstanding academic and scientific success. The recipient of this award is selected by a set of criteria enumerated by fellow students in the BMB department and is judged by a faculty committee selected by the students. Candidates for the award can also come through nominations, and this element of peer-recognition adds to the uniqueness of this program in the BMB department. In addition to a monetary gift, the recipient will also have their name engraved on a plaque for display outside the BSB auditorium.

Criteria for judging the recipient of the BCSO award:

  • The student should be currently enrolled in the BMB or the SBB program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (not on probation)
  • He/She should be an active participant in BCSO or BMB/SBB program activities
  • He/She must show potential of being a good scientist and a strong leader
  • Outstanding academic achievements and a record of scientific publications would be considered a plus
  • Applicants would be judged solely based on the above criteria

The applicant must be:

  • A student currently enrolled in the BMB Program or the SBB Track
  • In good standing in the graduate degree program
  • A student who has not previously won the BCSO Award (previous BCSO award winners shall not be eligible to receive the award again)

Application Process

The applicant must submit copies of the following items in PDF format to the program coordinator, JoAlice Whitehurst (, by the application deadline (typically late August). Late or incomplete applications will not be evaluated. Students can also be nominated by their peers. The nominated student, in turn is required to submit a complete application to be considered for the award.

  • Detailed C.V. (Template)
  • (1) copy (scan copy is acceptable) of your official UTMB academic transcript
  • A one-page (maximum) overview of your contributions to the advancement of the BCSO or the BMB/SBB Program, your vision of the future of BCSO, and what winning this award would mean to you.

In order to establish this award, we are soliciting donations from alumni, faculty, center directors and philanthropists alike. To ensure the possibility of a yearly, revolving award, we need to raise at least $25,000. This money comes from people like you. Your contribution is a tax deductible gift to UTMB and will be invested in the BSCO endowment fund, providing annual support for this award and allowing it to grow over time. This is also a great opportunity for our faculty to support the UTMB Family Campaign, by contributing to the BSCO Award.

How to donate

To remit donations to the BSCO Award Fund, please contact Marie Marczak, Director of Annual Giving, (409) 747-4876.

We thank you and offer the appreciation of future students in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program.

Prior recipients of the BCSO Student Award are:

  • 2019 Stephanea Sotcheff
  • 2018 Geraldine Schott
  • 2018 Laura Mascibroda
  • 2017 Samantha Sheller
  • 2017 Brooke Barnette
  • 2016 Stephanie Moya
  • 2015   Michaela Huynh and Oluwarotimi Folorunso
  • 2014   Curtis Nutter
  • 2013   Barbara Rolls
  • 2012   Kim Burckart and Abhijnan Chattopadhyay
  • 2011   Hung Doan
  • 2010   Michal Szymanski
  • 2009   Christof Straub
  • 2008   William Austin Elam
  • 2007   Raghavendran Kulasegaran Shylini and Sergio Santa-Maria
  • 2006   Rodrigo Maillard

BMB Awards

Two awards are available exclusively to students in the BMB or SBB programs:

Barbara Bowman Award

This scholarship is presented to an outstanding student in the graduate program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The recipient of the award will be determined by a committee appointed by the Director of the Graduate Program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Irma Mendoza Award

This scholarship is presented to an outstanding student of high academic achievement and service in the graduate program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The recipient of the award will be determined by a committee appointed by the Director of the Graduate Program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Application Process

The above two awards are applied for using the same form, submitted with the following supporting documentation:

  • Personal Research/Creer Statement: Please write a one-page summary of your research accomplishments at UTMB, service within the Program and career goals.
  • Confidential Comments: A confidential letter of recommendations from your dissertation mentor(s) and one non-mentor faculty should be sent to the BMB Graduate Program office (may be emailed to JoAlice Whitehurst, This letter should address your research accomplishments as well as your contributions to the BMB Graduate Program and the community.
  • Curriculum Vitae: Please attach a current curriculum vitae which is prepared in the UTMB format. Create additional heading to list community service/contributions.
  • Publications: Please submit a copy of the first page (ONLY) of your publications and abstracts in which you were an author.
  • Transcript: One (1) copy — a scanned copy is acceptable — of your official UTMB academic transcript.
  • Submit: Electronic versions only to the BMB Graduate Program office. Please email them to Ms. JoAlice Whitehurst (

GSBS Awards

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) offers numerous awards for UTMB graduate students to apply for. They include general scholarships open to all students and specific scholarships aimed at certain subgroups of students. Students fill out a single application to be considered for all the general scholarships and another application for the specific scholarships that they choose to apply for.

Scholarship instructions can be found here.

The list of general scholarships are here.

The list of specific scholarships are here.