Ten Michael Smith Scholars in Chemistry start their journey at CSU

Smith Scholars In Chemistry Group Photo

This fall, 10 incoming chemistry undergraduates were selected to receive the new Michael Smith Scholar in Chemistry award. This scholarship provides up to four years of full tuition, thanks to the generous support of Michael Smith, who studied chemistry at CSU in the 1970s.

Smith, who went on to become a successful energy entrepreneur, created this scholarship program with $400,000, which was part of his $13 million gift in 2016 to the University.

“We are incredibly proud that Michael Smith has his roots in the College of Natural Sciences and the Department of Chemistry,” said College of Natural Sciences Dean Jan Nerger. “We are grateful for his gift that is changing the lives of these 10 students.”

The selected students distinguished themselves through their academic achievements, intellectual curiosity, as well as their potential for leadership in academia, industry, and government. They each hail from the state of Colorado – from Denver to Pueblo to Fort Collins – and are pursuing an American Chemical Society-certified degree in the Department of Chemistry. Meet three of these inspiring students below.

Kathleen Floyd, Fort Collins

Floyd Michael Smith Scholars in ChemistryKathleen Floyd has always had a love of learning. “Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to know how things work and why,” she said. “As a result, science became my favorite subject. Science is active and changes the world and lives.”

In addition to being chosen as a Michael Smith Scholar in Chemistry, Floyd has also been accepted into the Honors Undergraduate Research Scholars program, where she plans to dive into work in the lab. She is grateful that this scholarship will allow her to have that time to dedicate to research and school work – instead of working her way through college.

“I am honored to be chosen for this scholarship and to attend CSU,” Floyd said. “Of all the fields of science, I love chemistry because of its impact. After all, you can’t launch a rocket without the fuel or run an app without the [device’s] battery… Chemistry is the glue that binds theories and models to the real world and makes the sciences useful.”

Ryann Daly, Durango

Daly Michael Smith Scholars in ChemistryAfter her brother suffered from idiopathic seizures, Ryann Daly knew she wanted to make a difference in the medical field. “One of my main, overarching goals in my educational career and for my life is to evolve current medicine to a more holistic approach, which I realize is quite ambitious,” she said. “I am interested in studying chemistry because I truly believe it will give me the platform to explore topics related to my goals – and feed my natural curiosity toward how the body reacts with certain chemicals.”

This big-picture thinker is grateful for the opportunity to follow her goals and be able to focus on her studies. “The Michael Smith Scholarship provides me with the financial means to keep striving toward achieving my goals,” Daly said. “Additionally, this scholarship will also continue to motivate and nurture my curiosity to explore the realm of chemistry and the opportunities the major provides.”

Sarah Sanders, Fort Collins

Sanders Michael Smith Scholars in ChemistryPerhaps it is no surprise that Sarah Sanders, a sixth-generation Coloradan, enrolled in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State University. Since she was a child, she had been studying chemistry with CSU Professor of Chemistry Gary Maciel. Not in class, but at home – Maciel was her grandfather.

“Science itself has been in my life ever since I was 5 years old, doing an experiment with my grandfather,” she said. But her interests have grown from this family connection. “I am going into the field because he made me want to understand every aspect of life as best I could.”

Sanders is especially grateful for the scholarship because, as a twin, she knows all of the college expenses her family would incur are doubled. “Taking off half the financial burden really helps my family – and allows my sister and I to spend more time studying rather than working,” she said.

Ten scholars

The other Michael Smith Scholars in Chemistry are: Jacob Fisher (Arvada), Tyler Johnson (Lafayette), Yuma Mays (Aurora), Eliana Okeson (Denver), Jose Rivera (Aurora), Megan Stevens (Colorado Springs), and Magdelaina Wellman (Pueblo). The cohort of scholars will also receive additional mentorship and advising from the Department of Chemistry and the College of Natural Sciences.