Published: June 17, 2022

With support from the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation, six life-science scholars gain support during their first two years of PhD work, beginning this fall

Six life science scholars will embark on their PhD studies and contribute their unique cultural experiences to the University of Colorado Boulder campus this fall through a nearly $1.9 million gift to the university from the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation, the foundation has announced.

The foundation is a California-based organization whose mission is “to support science-based research striving for the advancement of a healthy and sustainable future for humans.”

CU Boulder’s incoming Curci Scholars, five of whom are women and five of whom are international students, will enter graduate programs in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, biochemistry, psychology and neuroscience or integrative physiology.

headshots of six incoming Curci Scholars

Six incoming life-science scholars are, top row, from left: Angie Liu, Emily Prevost, Emily Yeo; bottom row: Hope Townsend, Joshiah Peters, Sophie Breunig.

The gift will ultimately support 12 graduate students through the first two years of their PhD education “with the hope of increasing the percentages of gender diversity and international students at the university pursuing a PhD in the life sciences,” according to the gift agreement.

Through the gift, the university aims to award two-thirds of the scholarships to international students and half to increase gender diversity in the life sciences. The second cohort of six Curci Scholars will be awarded beginning in 2023.

“We are deeply grateful for the generosity and foresight of the Curci Foundation. It is an honor and a joy to partner with them to significantly expand the opportunities for women and international students to earn a doctoral degree in life sciences at a top-tier research institution,” said James W.C. White, acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Our graduate research programs in the life sciences are excellent and perform critically important work that makes life better for all of us. The Curci Scholarship will enhance the diversity, international prominence and human impact of these programs.”

Lee Niswander, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, concurred, saying that the university’s life-science departments are “thrilled” to partner with the Curci Foundation to enrich and expand the university’s graduate programs.

She added: “The Curci scholarship has already fundamentally enhanced our recruitment of exceptional international and gender diverse scholars, and our world-known research laboratories will provide rich experiences for these scholars in cutting-edge life science research. We are extremely grateful to the Curci Foundation for their generous support.”

The foundation’s gift to CU Boulder is one of six made to elite institutions in the United States, the others being the University of Utah, the University of California, Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco and the University of Washington.

Header image courtesy of Institute of Cognitive Science’s Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium