Northern Michigan University medicinal plant chemistry senior Natalia Correa of Tampa, Fla., has earned an American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholar Award. The program awards renewable scholarships to undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups in the chemical sciences who are majoring in chemistry-related disciplines and intending to pursue chemistry-related careers. Correa received $5,000 for the academic year.
“I was so excited that I literally cried,” said Correa. “I'd never applied for a scholarship before. This one seemed so competitive that I didn't think I would get it. Then, I got an email congratulating me about receiving it. I got a D in chemistry in high school, so if you had told me I'd be doing this, I would not have believed you. At NMU, I feel empowered and intelligent.”
The award includes a free year-long ACS membership through which Correa receives invites to events and opportunities to view presentations via Zoom of scholars' findings and research.
“This is a major accomplishment for Natalia,” said Mark Paulsen, department head and professor of chemistry. “I think she may be the first ever ACS Scholar on our campus.”
Before transferring to NMU, Correa said that she had grown disenchanted as a pre-nursing major at a large Florida university.
“Then, I came across an article about NMU and its medicinal plant chemistry program, which was going to revolutionize the industry. I quit school, got a job, saved up my money, got accepted to NMU and the rest is history. I even made the Dean's List in my first year.
“The quality of professors at Northern is so much higher than it was there. I genuinely feel like they care about us students and want us to learn and feel confident. I would never go to another school. Northern is a great fit for me.”