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More Than Just a Scholarship

Growing up with parents who immigrated to the United States, Melissa Ramirez had limited opportunities to develop her scientific curiosity. It wasn’t until high school that she first discovered her interest in the sciences.

Melissa was on her own when it came to planning her academic future. Fortunately, she discovered the American Chemical Society and its ACS Scholars Program, which provided funding, professional guidance and personal support. “The mentors that ACS provides and the opportunities to network were so important because I didn’t have anyone else to tell me, ‘You can become a chemist and here’s how we can help.’ I am grateful to the ACS Scholars Program for that,” Melissa says.

When applying to colleges, Melissa knew she wanted to attend a research institution where she could gain hands-on experience in a lab. Her first choice was the University of Pennsylvania. A scholarship from the ACS Scholars Program gave Melissa the support and freedom to attend, despite the expenses.

Thanks to ACS, Melissa will graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in spring 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry; she plans to attend graduate school with the goal of obtaining her doctorate in organic chemistry.

Now an ACS member, Melissa appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with mentor and ACS colleague Gary Molander, Ph.D., whose lab she works in at Penn.

“The ACS Scholars Program makes it possible for students to get a science education regardless of economic status, and it provides networking opportunities that other scholarships do not,” Melissa explains. Soon to be the first in her family to graduate from college, Melissa credits ACS with being a major factor in her success.

“The ACS Scholars Program is an investment in chemistry—in the growth of the field,” she says. “There’s a need to diversify the field because, ultimately, that’s going to foster more creativity and collaboration among chemists from different backgrounds. There’s so much potential in the underrepresented groups. We just need the resources to succeed.”

Melissa Ramirez is one of nearly 3,000 ACS Scholars who have been awarded mentoring, financial support and internship opportunities since the program’s inception in 1994. Scholarships range from $2,500 for freshmen to $5,000 for seniors. Donors may contribute all or part of a single scholarship; pledge a renewable scholarship; or sponsor several ACS Scholars.


ACS is designated as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your donation is tax deductible. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 53-0196572.

Melissa Ramirez
ACS Scholar Melissa Ramirez studies chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

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