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2 Students Receive AAUW International Fellowships

Osakwe and Semesta

Master’s student Chukwunomso Osakwe and Ph.D. student Khairunnisa Semesta have received International Fellowships from the American Association for Women (AAUW) for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The International Fellowships support full-time study or research in the United States by women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Recipients are selected for academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to women and girls.

Osakwe, from Nigeria, is a master’s student in global health. She is interested in gender inequalities and how they affect access to quality health-care services. Her goal is to design health interventions that are inclusive and accessible to the most vulnerable populations. Her interest in health disparities in low-resource settings grew out of her experience in sexual and reproductive health in emergencies and gender-based violence in emergencies.

Semesta, from Indonesia, is a Ph.D. student in Assistant Professor Nikoleta Tsvetanova’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology. She is working at the intersection between pharmacology and neurobiology to understand the genetic basis of neurobiological disorders. Her research aims to discover genes with novel roles in G protein-coupled receptor signaling, one of the most widely targeted biological pathways in drug discovery. Her current work focuses on a psychosis risk gene that regulates this process.

The AAUW is one of the world’s leading funders of graduate women’s education. The application period for its fellowships and grants open August 1 each year.

Tips for Future Applicants

“I would suggest that future applicants highlight their work and commitment to advancing women's empowerment and how their academic scholarship contributes to that. For example, I highlighted my effort in mentoring Indonesian students into graduate school programs in the United States to close the gender gap in higher education.” — Khairunnisa Semesta

“Nothing is more powerful and real than telling your own story. In my application, I simply wrote about my career journey, my challenges and how my passion for enhancing gender equality motivates me. If you really think about it, you will see that you also have a compelling story to tell.” — Chukwunomso Osakwe