Graduate School announces 2022 endowment awardees

By: Kara Jones

The Vanderbilt Graduate School has recognized outstanding research among Ph.D. candidates across the university in 2021–22 through the nomination and awarding of endowed scholarship funding. 


The Edward Ferguson Jr. Graduate Award provides scholarships to support students at the Graduate School who demonstrate excellence in research. The $5,000 award provides financial support to deserving graduate students in any field.  

Awarded to:                   

Andrea Shiakolas – Microbe Host Interactions

Ella Hoogenboezem – Biomedical Engineering

Jacob Steenwyk – Biological Sciences

Noah Bradley – Biological Sciences and Biochemistry

Winona Richey – Biomedical Engineering


In 2019, Tripti Bardhan Jena and Purusottam Jena established the Smriti Bardhan, Ph.D. Scholarship to provide financial support based on merit for deserving students who are pursuing their Ph.D. in life sciences or bioscience at the Graduate School. The scholarship will support students who are conducting outstanding research in their field of study. The donors made this gift in memory of Smriti Bardhan, Ph.D., a former research instructor at Vanderbilt. The $2,500 scholarship recognizes excellence in research by a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student in an area related to life sciences or biological sciences. 

Awarded to: 

Kelsey Pilewski – Immunology

Nathan Winters – Pharmacology

Taylor Engdahl – Microbe Host Interactions


The Lai Sulin Scholarship Fund was established in 2005 by Cheng Lai, MS’62, PhD’66, and his wife, Yu Chen Lai, to provide financial assistance for graduate students who study in an area related to cancer in the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. Donors established this fund in memory of their daughter, Sulin. The $5,000 Lai Sulin Scholarship recognizes excellence in research by a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student in an area related to cancer. 

Awarded to: 

Margaret Axelrod – Medical Science Training Program: Cancer Biology


The $5,000 Tarkington Family Scholarship provides financial support based on need or merit for deserving students at the Graduate School. Preference in awarding will be for a doctoral candidate or graduate student studying for a degree in archaeology or bioarchaeology. 

Awarded to: 

James Zimmer-Dauphinee – Anthropology

Rebecca Aguila – Anthropology


In 1983, Louise A. Taylor established the Louise A. Taylor Scholarship to provide financial support for deserving students at the Graduate School. Ms. Taylor received a master of arts from Vanderbilt University in 1961. The $2,000 award provides financial support for deserving graduate students studying humanities across the university. 

Awarded to: 

Hannah Hicks – History

Sophie Dubosson – French and Italian


The Sidney P. Colowick Graduate Student Scholarship was established to provide financial support for a deserving student at the Graduate School. A student will be selected as the most outstanding candidate from among those receiving Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Funds. The selection will be made by the dean of the Graduate School after consultation with the committee that selects HSV scholars. The $5,000 award provides financial support for a deserving HSV scholar. The awardee will bear the title Sidney P. Colowick Graduate Scholar and be so recorded in the bulletin of the Graduate School and in Commencement and investiture programs. 

Awarded to: 

Emelina Vienneau – Biomedical Engineering

Willnide Lindor – English

Domonique Tunzi – Community Research and Action

Maya Bryn Krause – Anthropology

Hidahis Mesa – Leadership and Policy Studies

Sahai Couso Diaz – Spanish and CMAP

Tanushree Sarkar – Community Research and Action