Scholarship recipient Devan Nisson ’18 moves closer to achieving her dreams as a research biologist because of her exceptional experiences at UCI. Photo: Khaila Hall

Furthering Research through Scholarships

It’s a long academic road from earning a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology to achieving a doctoral degree in geoscience, but Devan Nisson ’18 is well on her way. A recent graduate, Nisson chose to attend UCI because of the School of Biological Sciences’ “reputation for producing alumni successful in scientific research and medicine.”

Soft-spoken and unassuming, Nisson credits the scholarship she received for her increased confidence to pursue her passions and become more involved across campus.

“Thanks to scholarship support, I began my junior year at UCI with the prospect of submitting a proposal for my first research pursuit outside of my professor’s current project,” said Nisson. “That developed into an independent research project.”

Steven Allison, Ph.D., professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and earth system science, teaches a class. Steve Zylius / UCI

She became a Bio Sci Peer Tutor for the Department of Molecular Biology and gained valuable teaching and scientific communications experience. She also developed as a leader during her involvement in the UCI Biological Sciences Student Council. But it was as a member of a UCI professor’s microbial ecology lab where she truly thrived as an undergraduate.

"Devan is a great example of how undergraduate students can really leverage UCI’s excellence in scientific research.”

- Steven Allison

“Devan is a great example of how undergraduate students can really leverage UCI’s excellence in scientific research,” said Steven Allison, Ph.D., professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and earth system science. “Devan’s experience in my lab developed her scientific skills while making important contributions to our knowledge about microbes and ecosystems.”

Nisson is currently pursuing her doctorate in geoscience at Princeton University. She hopes to one day have a career in microbiology, geoscience or astrobiology.

The amazing opportunities that led her to where she is now would not have been possible without the support of donors. “I want to sincerely thank [donors] for providing me with the financial support and confidence I needed to thrive as an undergraduate at UCI,” said Nisson.

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