St. Thomas junior Kia Johnson has been awarded a prestigious UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Award. This highly competitive award, given annually to just 15 students throughout the country, provides up to $25,000 to cover tuition, room and board, and other billable fees.

Kia Johnson

Kia Johnson

Award recipients are selected based on their abilities and accomplishments. A biology major, Johnson works in Dr. Tom Ippoliti’s research lab in the Chemistry Department. She also is a member of the volleyball team and holds one of the highest grade-point averages among UST student athletes.

In addition to the scholarship, Johnson will receive a Merck Summer Research Internship, which provides a stipend of at least $5,000 and mentorship by a Merck scientist. One part of the internship will take place during the summer following her junior year and will continue following graduation. Each portion of the summer internship will last from 10 to 12 weeks and will take place at a Merck research laboratory.

The United Negro College Fund and the Merck Company Foundation provide funding for the scholarships as a component of the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, the goal of which is to support the training and development of world-class African American biomedical research scientists.

The UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards are intended to encourage the interest of African American undergraduate students in furthering their science education and pursuing biological, chemical or engineering science careers by providing tuition support and opportunities for research and engineering experience in a state-of-the-art industrial laboratory.