ARCS Award

Call for 2023-2024 has not come out yet.

Sixteen UC Santa Cruz graduate students have received scholarships worth a total of $160,000 from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation for the 2022-23 academic year.


Departments submit its single best student for consideration for the award. One additional nominee may be submitted only if the department has two exceptional candidates and the department must rank those candidates.


2023 ARCS Foundation scholarships support UCSC graduate students in the sciences and engineering

Sixteen UC Santa Cruz graduate students have received scholarships worth a total of $175,000 from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation for the 2023-24 academic year. 

The prestigious ARCS Scholar Awards recognize outstanding students who have a record of past achievement and show exceptional promise of making a significant contribution to the scientific and technological strength of the nation. ARCS funds are unrestricted, and scholars may take advantage of mentoring and networking opportunities with other ARCS scholars and donors to the ARCS foundation through events, scholar symposia, and national conferences.  

The ARCS Foundation is a national organization that provides scholarships and fellowships for the country's most promising science, medical, and engineering students. Since 1976, the ARCS Foundation's Northern California Chapter has given more than $3 million in scholarships to UCSC students. UC Santa Cruz belongs to the ARCS Northern California (NCC) chapter, which funds scholarships at seven universities in the region.  

Graduate students from the following departments are eligible to be nominated for scholarships: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Computational Media, Computer Science & Engineering, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Environmental Studies, Mathematics, Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology, Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, Ocean Sciences, Physics, Science Communication, and Statistics.

This year, the graduate division celebrates that the national ARCS Foundation has approved an application from the Applied Mathematics department within the Baskin School of Engineering, meaning students from this department will be eligible to participate in the competition for ARCS scholarships in the 2024-25 cycle.

Meet the 2023-2024 cohort of ARCS scholars:

Alex Kramer, Biomolecular Engineering Ph.D. 

Alex Kramer’s research focuses on the development of scalable tools to enable precise data exploration and accurate analysis of millions of pathogen genomes such as COVID-19. In a recent project, Kramer developed a way to use evolutionary compression of over 14 million SARS-CoV-2 samples to display the full genome sequence of each in a uniquely powerful and scalable "Treenome Browser." He has already contributed to six ongoing or completed publications.

Dominic Sanchez, Astronomy and Astrophysics Ph.D. 

Dominic Sanchez works at the interface between optical techniques and astronomical research,  developing novel astronomical instrumentation for exoplanet science. Currently in his fourth year of his Ph.D. program, he is developing a device which promises to enhance our ability to study planets around nearby stars.

Madelyn Broome, Astronomy and Astrophysics Ph.D. 

Madelyn Broome’s research is in the development of code for modeling the early life and evolution of exoplanets that are close to their host stars, helping to answer large outstanding questions in the study of exoplanets. Before coming to UCSC, Madelyn earned her bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics from Princeton in 2019 and master’s degree from Cambridge the following year. She is an American Astronomical Society National Osterbrock Leadership Program Fellow and a UCSC Graduate Pedagogy Fellow, both of which allow her to pursue her lifelong commitment to excite, engage and elevate historically-excluded learners in STEM, especially other Native American students and young women.

Elsie Cecilia Carrillo, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. 

Elsie Carillo studies the physiology, behavior and evolution of a semi-aquatic lifestyle, using garter snakes as a model organism. Elsie is a graduate from the Stanford Teacher Education Program, has spent six years teaching K-12 science, has served as a graduate student instructor, and won an Outstanding Teaching Assistant. She aims to become a professor to help recruit and retain first-generation and underrepresented students in STEM and to help all students develop their scientific identities.

Julia Harenčár, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. 

Julia Harenčár researches plant ecology and genetics, specifically focusing on how the environment and genome interact to shape and maintain species boundaries in recently diverged and hybridizing tropical plants. She has been an author on five papers, three of them first author, and recently won best student presentation at the American Society of Naturalists conference. Harenčár is passionate about promoting diversity in STEM and actively works to bring research-based pedagogy practices for increasing equity to her TA and GSI roles.

Suzanne Lipton, Environmental Studies Ph.D.
Suzanne Lipton’s research is in the field of agroecology, specifically how farmer management practices can influence biodiversity and ecosystem function. Before pursuing her Ph.D., she worked for several non-profits and research centers focused on food and agriculture and co-authored the book Sustainable Food Production: A Primer for the 21st Century (2021).

Mays Mohammad Salih, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology Ph.D. 

Mays Mohammad Salih’s research focuses on the mechanisms of immune regulation to help better understand the immune response of organisms to pathogens. She also studies the mechanisms which cause inflammatory and autoimmune diseases to arise, and how to target those diseases with therapeutics. Mays also leads and participates in many student outreach activities to promote diversity in STEM and support fellow graduate students. This is the second year Mays was selected for an ARCS fellowship.

Amanda Carbajal, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology Ph.D. 

After working in unique labs at UCSF for her master’s degree and holding a position as a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, Amanda Carbajal is pursuing her passion for biology in her doctoral studies. Her research uses genetics, genomics, molecular modeling, and medicinal chemistry to understand how antibiotics provoke resistance mutations in bacteria. Carbajal is also a recent recipient of the prestigious UC Doctoral Diversity Initiative Award.

Yasmine Elshenawi, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Ph.D.

Yasmine studies the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, a globally prevalent pathogen that can cause severe gastrointestinal disease and gastric cancers. She focuses on the growth mechanisms of this bacteria to help improve treatments for infections. Yasmine was a teaching assistant for 13 quarters as a graduate student, has mentored students in her lab, wrote and submitted two funding proposals, and is a member of the Black Microbiologists Association. 

Zach Horton, Statistics Ph.D. 

Horton’s research focuses on the application of Bayesian nonparametric methods to renewal process modeling. Currently, he is working on a Markov renewal model for predicting earthquake recurrences while accounting for previous earthquake magnitudes. Horton has received several academic awards both graduate and undergraduate, including various merit-based scholarships and graduating magna cum laude. This is the second year Zach was selected for an ARCS fellowship. 

Ryan Green, Earth and Planetary Sciences Ph.D.

Ryan’s research uses biogeochemical modeling to advance our understanding of ocean alkalinity enhancement as a method for marine carbon dioxide removal. His work specifically focuses on investigating the impact, efficiency, and detection of OAE through the examination of geologic analogs and the simulation of future OAE deployment along the west coast of the United States. He is also dedicated to mentorship and teaching, evidenced by receiving multiple Teaching Assistant awards and actively mentoring undergraduate and high school students.

Amanda Donaldson, Earth and Planetary Sciences Ph.D.  

Amanda Donaldson studies how the structure of Earth’s surface and near surface environments
dictates how water moves and is stored, and in turn, how the fate of water influences the evolution of those environments. Donaldson has received numerous awards to support her research, including the UC President’s Pre-Professoriate Fellowship, and is heavily engaged in teaching and diversity, equity, and inclusion activities.

Navid Gougol, Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D.

Navid Gougol’s research focuses on circuits and control for the brain, specifically in developing novel ultrasound technology. Gougol started a company, Yektasonics, to commercialize his ultrasound research, and was recently selected to participate in the Santa Cruz Accelerates Program. He has also been a chip designer at AMD and Sun Microsystems.

Anne Beulke, Ocean Sciences Ph.D. 

Anne Beulke studies heritable traits connected to migration behaviors in Chinook salmon and steelhead, using molecular tools to answer questions about salmon ecology and improve conservation efforts. Prior to graduate school, she completed molecular biology and field ecology research, and then worked as a field biological science technician for the U.S. Forest Service.

Gillian Dohrn, Science Communications MS

Gillian Dohrn aspires to use her background in biology to explore fresh perspectives on health and the human body. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz to pursue the Science Communications MS, she studied topics of microbiology and immunology at Colorado College and worked in communications at Keystone Symposia and Springer Nature.

Madeline Reinsel, Science Communications MS

Before coming to UCSC, Madeline Reinsel worked at William & Mart studying the conservation of the diamondback terrapin, a small estuarine turtle found along the East and Gulf coasts. Her involvement in diamondback terrapin conservation and other environmental research projects inspired her interest in science communication, and a short film she made on the turtle won an award in the Virginia Environmental Film Contest in 2023.

Congratulations to all!