8 UC Berkeley graduate students receive Siebel Scholars award

Photo of Siebel Scholar Recipients
Berkeley Engineering/Courtesy
According to Jennifer Stern, executive director of the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, the eight students will join nearly 150 others chosen from UC Berkeley since the program was founded in 2000.

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The Siebel Scholars Foundation has named eight UC Berkeley engineering graduate students to its 2021 class, according to a Sept. 23 press release.

Each year, the Siebel Scholars Foundation selects nearly 100 graduate students from some of the world’s top schools of business, computer science, energy science and bioengineering, the press release stated. Siebel Scholars are selected on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and leadership and are awarded a $35,000 grant to support their final year of studies.

“By providing such critical scholarship support, this program encourages young researchers to explore high-risk, high-reward directions that address the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, campus dean of engineering, in an announcement. “I look forward to learning about the advances they’ll make in their fields.”

According to Jennifer Stern, executive director of the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, these students will join nearly 150 others chosen from UC Berkeley since the program was founded in 2000.

Among those recognized was campus Energy and Resources Group Ph.D. student José Daniel Lara, whose research explores models for integrating renewable energy sources into the power grid.

The grant will allow Lara to complete a Ph.D. without having to worry about funding, something Lara has had to contend with on a year-to-year basis as an international student with limited opportunities for grants or fellowships.

“As a graduate student, having your own funding is really empowering because it gives you a lot more flexibility to pursue what you think are the most interesting research questions,” said Alison Su, another recipient of the award, in an email.

As a Ph.D. student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF bioengineering program, Su’s research has focused on engineering measurement tools for biomedical applications. After graduating, Su wants to assist in developing better treatments for those suffering from chronic illness.

Zoë Steier, another Ph.D. student in bioengineering, focuses on learning how T-cells form and take on various roles in the immune system. Motivated by a celiac disease diagnosis in 2007, Steier hopes that her research can be used to develop therapies and cures for autoimmune conditions in the future.

For the past four years in campus chemistry professor Ting Xu’s lab, recipient Marc Lim has focused on developing nanoparticles that can be used to deliver medicine to tumors, hoping to find out what barrier they must overcome to reach their targets.

The foundation also recognized Anjali Gopal, Nicolas Altemose, Jason Zhou and Tiffany Chien.

“There is so much more to understand, and I am fortunate to live out my childhood dream of ‘making medicine’!” Lim said in an email. “These opportunities are an incredible blessing that I want to keep making the most of. I owe everything to my loved ones who tirelessly support me.”

Contact Jacob Souza at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @jsouza_dailycal.