2022 Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award

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Ph.D. student Samantha Theresa Mensah (Andrews/P Weiss groups) has been named the recipient of the 2022 Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE).

The award was created to highlight outstanding graduate research and leadership and commitment to outreach activities.

In the labs of Professors Anne Andrews and Paul Weiss, Mesah studies biosensors that can detect neurotransmitters in vivo. In 2020, she co-founded BlackInChem, a nonprofit that helps Black chemists network with and support each other and aims to boost diversity in the sciences. In 2021, Mensah received UCLA Academic Senate’s prestigious Graduate Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Award.

The Winifred Burks-Houck Graduate Leadership Award was named after Winifred Burks-Houck, an environmental organic chemist and the first female president of NOBCChE. In 2010, NOBCChE established the distinguished lecture, award, and symposium to honor Winifred A. Burks-Houck by highlighting the leadership scientific achievements, creativity, and community service of a NOBCChE-affiliated professional woman and a NOBCChE undergraduate and graduate student working towards a degree in a STEM field.

NOBCChE held an award recognition ceremony on September 25, 2022 to honor all 2022 NOBCChE award winners.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.