ARCS Scholar Awards
ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation, Inc. advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding U.S. citizens studying to complete degrees in science, engineering and medical research. It is ARCS Foundation's belief that support of STEM education is essential to U.S. economic growth and technological competitiveness, and helps to ensure continued U.S. leadership in global innovation, health and quality of life.
ARCS Scholar Awards are intended to recognize and reward UC Irvine's most academically superior doctoral students exhibiting outstanding promise as scientists, researchers and leaders. Each Scholar will receive a $5,000 stipend during the current academic year and, contingent upon continued satisfactory academic progress, will receive an additional $5,000 the following academic year. ARCS funding is in addition to existing support and may not be used as a substitute for other university support.
Each school holds its own competition and selects its recipients of ARCS Scholar Awards. UCI is required to abide by ARCS criteria in making selections without regard to race, color, creed or gender and in the administration of allocated funds.
$5,000 stipend per year for two years.
Each school holds its own competition and makes the final selection of its scholars who meet the following minimum criteria:
- Must have achieved a graduate level UC GPA of 3.5 or better through Spring 2017 quarter.
- Must have have completed at least two years of graduate study, with at least two years remaining before degree completion.
- Must be making satisfactory progress toward their degree goal.
- Must be a U.S. citizen.
- Must have identified their individual area of research interest and be willing to prepare a poster board of their research for display at the awards dinner.
- Must have exhibited excellent interpersonal and leadership abilities during their academic program.
Students should check with their schools for internal deadlines and procedures before submitting any materials. Schools submit their selected scholar packets to Graduate Division, to include the following:
- A completed UCI ARCS Foundation Scholar Award Nomination form
- A completed Student Biographical Profile with a 100-word student bio
- A current CV
- A statement by the awardee of no more than 2-3 pages in length, describing their research project, progress to date, and plan for completion
- A confidential evaluation of the student by their faculty advisor (multiple letters are acceptable)
- Letters from the program advisor, department chair, and associate dean
The selection process will include a personal interview; each student must be able and willing to speak articulately about their career goals and research.
The 2017-18 competition is closed.
ARCS Program Coordinator
About the ARCS Foundation
ARCS Foundation, Inc. is a national nonprofit volunteer women's organization that promotes American competitiveness by supporting talented U.S. citizens working to complete degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and health disciplines in top-rated programs at leading U.S. universities. Since its founding in 1958, ARCS Foundation has provided more than 9,600 graduate students of science with awards totaling nearly $100 million. ARCS Scholars have gone on to positions of leadership and distinction across academia, industry and government. Nine out of 10 ARCS Scholars work in their sponsored fields - sharing knowledge, developing technologies, launching startup companies, and inspring youth to pursue the challenge of study and careers in STEM fields.
ARCS 2017-2018 Scholars
- Ph.D., Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, UC Irvine, 2020 expected
- M.S., Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, UC Irvine, 2016
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, UC Irvine, 2014
Dr. Gregory Washington
Joseph has already received both bachelors’ and master’s degrees at UCI, which is where he developed his interest in automotive controls. He shares a passion for racing and restoring cars with his father, but it was not until graduate school that he combined his personal hobbies with his research. Joseph is focused in automotive controls and is currently researching alternative energy vehicles and venturing into the autonomous driving field. In this arena he has interned with for the Ford Motor Company for the second time this year at its Research and Innovation lab in Palo Alto.
- Ph.D., Mathematics, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- M.S., Mathematics, UC Irvine, 2016
B.S., Mathematics, Texas A&M University, 2013
High dimensional phenomena, randomized linear algebra, applications to data science
AdvisorDr. Hongkai Zhao
Jennifer’s research interests include high dimensional phenomena, randomized linear algebra, and applications to data science. She is proud to have recently made a big breakthrough on her current project on finding the smallest dimension possible to embed certain high dimensional data points in, up to a user-defined error tolerance. Jennifer’s work experience comes from a variety of summer programs, her favorites being two internships with the NSA. While at UCI, she is honored to have received the Outstanding Contributions to the Department award two years in a row, and also the Outstanding Mathematics Teaching Assistant Honorable Mention. Outside of her studies, Jennifer is a co-organizer for the Physical Sciences DECADE group, promoting diversity and an inclusive environment for graduate students. She is also one of two Mentor Coordinators for this year’s incoming Math graduate students. Jennifer enjoys volunteering with math outreach activities such as the middle school programs Math Circle, Math CEO and MATHCOUNTS, as well.
- Ph.D., Chemistry, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- B.S., Chemistry and Biology, University of Minnesota, 2016
Chemical biology, material science, organic chemistry
Dr. Zhibin Guan
While an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, Alex worked in the research lab of Romas Kazlauskas developing enzymes to catalyze C-C bond forming reactions. Additionally, he worked at 3M in the biomaterials group studying the effects of surfactants on the efficacy of various antimicrobial agents. During his undergraduate career, Alex received many awards including the Franklin D. Enfield Memorial Scholarship for outstanding research outside the University of Minnesota. At UCI, Alex’s research focuses on developing polymers for nucleic acid delivery.
- Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- B.S., Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis, 2014
Dr. Elliot Botvinick
Utilizing tissue engineering and microfabrication techniques, Rachel is developing a bioartificial pancreas device for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D). She began her journey back in high school participating in COSMOS (California State Summer School for Math and Science), continuing through her undergraduate studies and now. Rachel is dedicated to using her BME background in engineering a T1D treatment.
- Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences-Molecular Biology, UC Irvine, 2020 expected
- B.S. Cellular & Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry, Seattle Pacific University, 2014
RNA processing in the initiation and progression of colon cancer
Dr. Marian Waterman
Amber graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seattle Pacific University with a double major in Cellular & Molecular Biology and Biochemistry before relocating to Southern California. She has been awarded UCI’s Ayala Fellowship, an appointment on the Cancer Biology T32 training grant, an NSF GRFP, the SOM Stanley Behrens Fellowship, and an ELISS fellowship through AAAS. Her thesis work is focused on understanding the role of RNA processing in the initiation and progression of colon cancer. In her free time, Amber enjoys playing soccer for UCI’s club soccer team and going to the beach, hiking, and camping. She volunteers with FIRST Robotics and IUSD/OC Science Fairs and is also the coordinator of the CRI Youth Science Fellowship program, and enjoys working with and teaching high school students and undergraduates.
- Ph.D., Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
- M.S., Biomedical & Translational Science, UC Irvine, 2014
B.S., Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2009
Cancer biology and precision medicine
Dr. Chris Hughes
Stephanie’s main research interests are in cancer biology and precision medicine, with a focus on facilitating the translation of basic science findings to the clinic. Currently she aims to develop microphysiological systems for drug screening, disease modeling and personalized medicine applications. She is an active member of the GPS-Biomed program on campus and has extensive experience with hands-on, cross-disciplinary training in molecular biology from her research positions. Stephanie spearheaded collaboration with UCI physicians to launch her thesis project during her first-year rotation and the resulting translational infrastructure will support efforts to improve patient outcomes.
- Ph.D., Informatics, UC Irvine, 2020 expected
B.F.A., New England School of Art & Design, Suffolk University, 2007
Social justice, innovation culture, new media and theory, predictive analytics, organizational and practice theory.
Dr. Paul Dourish
Before transferring to UCI, Leah studied for two years in the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design, conducting fieldwork around ICTs in partnership with UNICEF’s Innovation Lab in Kampala, Uganda. Prior to graduate studies, she held a position for 3 ½ years at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) working on design, communication, and executive administration efforts. Currently, Leah works for the LA City Data Team to conduct an ethnographic study of data-driven governance in the era of big data.
- Ph.D., Experimental Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
B.S., Biological Sciences, UC Irvine, 2013
Treatment of neurological disorders
Dr. Daniela Bota
Naomi’s scientific life-long goal is to conduct translational research that has the potential to improve the lives of people living with currently untreatable neurological disorders. Her current research project has given her the opportunity to conduct groundwork for novel treatments that address the downstream side effects of chemotherapy including the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. While an undergraduate at UCI, she conducted Alzheimer’s disease research in the lab of Dr. Andrea Tenner. Naomi is passionate about mentoring students and encouraging the pursuit of biomedical research through outreach activities. In the lab, she has mentored and trained seven lab members in various stages of their education ranging from high school students to clinical fellows. Naomi has served as a graduate counselor for CampMed, a UCI-based organization that mentors local high school students. Annually, she serves as a judge for the UCI Minority Science Program summer research symposium and graduate school seminar panelist. In 2016, she served as a graduate student representative for the UCI School of Medicine at a national diversity in STEM conference, SACNAS. Naomi is currently representing the Department of Experimental Pathology on the School of Medicine Student Council.
- Ph.D., Neurobiology & Behavior, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
B.S., Biochemistry, Seton Hall University,2012
Molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders
AdvisorDr. Leslie Thompson
After conducting undergraduate research and earning her B.S., Eva worked as a post-baccalaureate at the NIH for two years. Her current project focuses on the molecular contributions towards Huntington’s disease pathogenesis and ties in her previous research interests of biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics. She is currently an NSF GRFP scholar and coordinates a student-run seminar, Neuroblitz, for her department. Eva believes having a healthy body produces a healthy mind and partakes in numerous athletic activities, most notably as a nationally ranked competitive archer for UCI’s collegiate team.
- Ph.D. Statistics, UC Irvine, 2020 expected
- M.S., Statistics, UC Irvine, 2017
B.S., Applied Mathematics-Statistics, UC Riverside, 2015
Statistical methodology with applications to biomarker discovery, Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Daniel Gillen
Michelle’s research focuses on the development of novel statistical methodology with applications to biomarker discovery in multiple disease areas, with specific interest in applications to Alzheimer’s disease. She graduated from UC Riverside with a 4.0 GPA. Since coming to UCI, Michelle has been named a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow, and also received the Robert L. Newcomb Memorial Endowed Graduate Student Award. She has a strong commitment to helping underrepresented students succeed academically, particularly in STEM disciplines.