Two Northwestern students receive congressional scholarships

Allyson Chiu, Campus Editor

Two Northwestern students received more than $35,000 in funding from congressional scholarships, the University announced last week.

According to a news release, Weinberg junior Kathleen Nganga, who is majoring in political science, was awarded $30,000 from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship to be used toward graduate school. McCormick junior Lucia Brunel, a chemical and biomedical engineering student, received $7,500 from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which was created for undergraduates who want to pursue a research career in science, math and engineering, the release said.

“Lucia’s and Kathleen’s success underscores Northwestern’s ability to cultivate young leaders across schools and disciplines,” Office of Fellowships director Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe said in the release.

The scholarships were created by the U.S. Congress to support undergraduate public servants and STEM researchers, the release said.

According to the release, Nganga plans to use her scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in political science and public policy. Her work focuses on race and ethnicity in East Africa and America, the release said.

“I am interested in groups who have had their policy preferences ignored and the mechanisms through which marginalized groups mobilize for political change,” she said in the release.

Brunel told The Daily receiving the scholarship is validation for the work she has done and is encouragement for her future research plans, which also include pursuing a Ph.D.

“I’ve been involved with research since I was in high school,” she said. “I’m really passionate about the work that I’ve been doing in it. I intend to remain in academia as a professor at a research university in the future.”

Brunel’s research at NU focuses on polymer property manipulation, the release said. Polymers –– more commonly known as plastics –– are materials with many uses and have potential applications for innovative drug delivery systems that could transport medications more effectively into the body, the release said.

Brunel told The Daily she enjoys research because it allows students to use what is learned in the classroom and apply it to “real, relevant problems and come up with innovative solutions.”

As a result of receiving the scholarship, Brunel told The Daily she hopes to serves as a role model for the future generation of women researchers in STEM.

“It’s important to provide encouragement for young women, particularly in engineering, since there’s currently still a gap between the numbers of men and women pursuing those fields,” Brunel said.

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