CSUSB biology graduate Katelyn Schwarz is the recipient of the prestigious 2023-24 Professor Richard Fehn Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional achievement and dedication to the field of biology. The scholarship was created to help meet the cost of education for CSUSB biology students who have demonstrated a commitment to biological research and to pay tribute to Fehn and his work.

Schwarz’s selection is a testament to her academic achievements, research endeavors and commitment to advancing scientific knowledge. Her passion for biology, exemplary academic record and dedication to research exemplifies the spirit of excellence and innovation that embodies the scholarship.

Schwarz has demonstrated passion and proficiency in her academic pursuits, particularly in molecular biology with environmental applications. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and plans to continue her academic journey at UC Santa Barbara, where she will pursue a doctorate in bioengineering. Schwarz is grateful for the opportunity to further her education and research endeavors with the aid of the scholarship.

Schwarz honed her research skills at CSUSB as an undergraduate in the College of Natural Sciences. Her research experience includes receiving training in the Office of Student Research’s Undergraduate Summer Research Program and presenting her work at events, such as CSUSB’s Meeting of the Minds Student Research Symposium and 2024 CSU Biotechnology Symposium.

Schwarz was nominated for the Professor Richard Fehn Scholarship by her research mentor, Daniel Nickerson, associate professor of biology.

“I don’t recall another trainee who has volunteered so much of their time to research projects with the obvious joy and fascination that Katelyn has,” said Nickerson. “She has also shown her keen scientific imagination for conceiving and designing new projects from scratch. She’s been a tremendous lab mate and inspiration in our research group. She’s more than ready to begin her Ph.D. studies, and I’m sure she’s going to have a lot of fun.”

Jeremy Dodsworth, biology department chair, has witnessed Schwarz’s passion for biology and growth as a researcher.

“Katelyn has taken full advantage of her research experience with Dr. Nickerson, and she embodies some of the ideal qualities of a research student: innovative, curious and independent,” said Dodsworth. “She is also a good communicator of science, as her excellent presentation in our Biology Student Research Colloquium made clear.”

Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, commended Schwarz for her academic achievements and dedication to the field.

“Katelyn’s research excellence is something to be proud of. I enjoyed listening to her work,” said Pantula. “She has a bright future ahead of her, and we are glad to be a part of her success. The presence of dedicated women scientists like Katelyn in academia is invaluable."

Fehn, who passed away in 2007, held many titles during his tenure at CSUSB, including biology department chair, professor and mentor. The CSUSB alumnus was renowned for his contributions to biology and dedication to fostering the next generation of aspiring scientists, especially promoting student research experiences. Fehn inspired students to pursue their dreams, and through the Professor Richard Fehn Scholarship, his commitment to academic excellence and scientific inquiry lives on.