SLAS and NOBCChE Announce the 2023 SLAS-NOBCChE Scholarship Recipients

For Immediate Release

Oak Brook, IL (August 16, 2023) – The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) and The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) are pleased to announce Nathaniel Gauthier (Philadelphia, PA) and Marygrace Pelekamoyo (Houston, TX) as the recipients of the 2023 SLAS-NOBCChE Scholarship.

The SLAS-NOBCChE Scholarship aims to increase the diversity of the global science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce by supporting young people of color, who are often underrepresented in the STEM field. As recipients of the scholarship, Gauthier and Pelekamoyo will receive $50,000 in financial assistance and ongoing mentorship support to pursue a college degree in STEM.

Nathaniel Gauthier
Nathaniel Gauthier

Gauthier is a rising junior at Carver High School of Engineering and Science (Philadelphia, PA), who’s involved in various activities including the Carver Quiz Bowl team, the Science Olympiad and Heights Philadelphia scientific programs, and a dedicated volunteer within his community. He attributes his motivation to pursue a career in biomedical research to his passion for science and desire to be a force for positive change in life sciences research.

“I hope to break that barrier and serve as a model for others like me in terms of what they can accomplish,” says Gauthier. “This award will open up many previously unavailable educational and career opportunities, including allowing my family and I to afford enrollment and success at a distinguished institution.”

Pelekamoyo is entering her senior year at J. Frank Dobie High School (Houston, TX) and is the president of the academic decathlon team. Outside the classroom, she actively volunteers within her community by spending time with children at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Clear Lake as a child life volunteer.

Marygrace Pelekamoyo
Marygrace Pelekamoyo

“I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious award,” says Pelekamoyo. “I am eager to start this new chapter of my life, and I am determined to make a positive impact with the knowledge and skills I will gain through my education.”

Scholarship applicants were required to describe a STEM research project they are passionate about. Finalists were paired with a STEM professional to advise as they completed their presentations.

For Gauthier, his research project involves studying water treatment adsorption methods of removing microcystins – a common freshwater toxin. Exploring this alternative water treatment method will contribute to the analysis of the cost effectiveness of adsorption and how it can benefit ecosystems. Cardinal Health Regulatory Scientist III Erick Ellis, Ph.D., mentored Gauthier through his research proposal process.

Pelekamoyo’s research project examines how byproducts of e-waste (computer chips, circuit boards, cell phone batteries, etc.) affect plants placed in soil sourced from landfills, compost and natural soil. This experiment aims to identify and better inform how hazardous e-waste impacts the environment and human health. Her mentor for this project is Julianne Vernon, Ph.D., who holds multiple roles at Vanderbilt School of Engineering (Nashville, TN) including associate dean for academic success, assistant professor of the practice of chemical and biomedical engineering and the executive director of SCI-STEPS.

The SLAS-NOBCChE Scholarships are generously funded by Pfizer and Amgen. Each company has donated $50,000, respectively, to build and strengthen the pipelines of underserved high school students into the STEM field.

Both students will have the opportunity to attend the SLAS International Conference and Exhibition and the NOBCChE Annual Meeting to be inspired by a wide variety of scientific disciplines and scientific innovation as they embark on their STEM education.


SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international professional society of academic, industry and government life sciences researchers and the developers and providers of laboratory automation technology. The SLAS mission is to bring together researchers in academia, industry and government to advance life sciences discovery and technology via education, knowledge exchange and global community building.

NOBCChE – The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers is a nonprofit, professional organization dedicated to assisting black and other minority students and professionals in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional, and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering and allied fields. NOBCChE’s mission is to build an eminent cadre of successful diverse global leaders in STEM and advance their professional endeavors by adding value to their academic, development, leadership, and philanthropic endeavors throughout the life-cycle of their careers.


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