Seniors Vanessa Cupil-Garcia and Crystal Gunther earned national honors when they received the Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry and the Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry by a First-Generation Student, respectively. Iota Sigma Pi is a national honor society for women in chemistry.
“It is very exciting for the chemistry department to have Vanessa and Crystal win the Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Awards,” said Department of Chemistry, Physics and Geoscience Head Walda Powell. “For a small school like Meredith, it speaks volumes about the quality of our students and our program for our students to win these national awards.”
Cupil-Garcia garnered the Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry. She will attend Duke University’s Chemistry Ph.D. program in the fall with tuition, fees, and health insurance paid in full. She will also receive a stipend for conducting research.
“I am humbled and ecstatic to receive this award since only one award is given at the national level,” said Cupil-Garcia. “This honor further motivates me to excel in chemistry, and encourage women to pursue the STEM fields.”
Gunther received the Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry by a First-Generation Student. After graduation, Gunther will attend North Carolina State University for graduate work in chemistry, where she will obtain her Ph.D. She plans to use her degree to conduct innovative research that impacts society.
“This award means that other women who struggle and grow up with challenging childhoods can reach their goals and overcome their obstacles,” said Gunther. “Being a first-generation student is definitely hard because there aren’t footsteps to follow behind, but receiving this award means to me that I can make my own pathway and be just as successful.”
The annual awards recognize excellence in chemistry by women undergraduate students. Award winners must be senior women chemistry students in an accredited college or university that grants a four-year degree in chemistry.