Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates

The application period is now closed.

The Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates offers financial support to students who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and enhance the diversity of science. Students whose social, educational or economic background adds to the diversity of the biomedical workforce or who show commitment to enhancing academic success of underrepresented students are eligible.

The scholarship provides up to $2,000 toward undergraduate tuition costs for one academic year and can be applied to fall or spring tuition of the year following scholarship award notification. Up to ten scholarships will be awarded each academic year. Applications by individuals from underrepresented groups are encouraged, although all qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates is named in honor of Dr. Marion Sewer, professor of pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, and former deputy chair of the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee. Dr. Sewer was a role model for students at all stages and was deeply committed to service within the scientific community.

The Marion B. Sewer Scholarship is made possible by generous donations from:


Applicants for the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident at the time of application. Students with DACA status also are eligible. Foreign nationals in the U.S. on a visa are not eligible.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited two- or four-year institution located in the U.S. or U.S. territories.
  • Be an ASBMB member at the time of application. Undergraduates can join the ASBMB either directly or by joining an ASBMB Student Chapter at a participating institution.
  • Recipients are eligible to apply for a further scholarship in subsequent academic years.

How to apply

Each applicant should submit the following documents in PDF format. Under each required statement, there are guidelines that the reviewers will use to provide an overall score for that particular document.

  • Academic transcript
    Evaluation (1 point)
  • Statement of research experience and career goals (two pages max).
    Evaluation (7 points)
    • What evidence do you provide of research experience?
    • How will the scholarship help you achieve your career goals and plans?
    • How did you decide upon your career goal?
  • Statement describing the need as determined by the educational, social, cultural or economic barriers (two pages max).
    Evaluation (8 points)
    • What relevant life experiences have contributed to barriers in your education?
    • What insights, perspectives or skills have you gained from these formative experiences that shape your education and career goals?
    • Do you present a case for need in a logical, interesting or otherwise appropriate way?
  • Statement demonstrating the applicant’s commitment to diversity (two pages max).
    Evaluation (9 points)
    • How is your commitment to diversity reflected through volunteer engagement in diversity initiatives, or other opportunities to enhance diversity?
    • Have you undertaken increased responsibilities that demonstrate commitment to diversity?
    • What is your sense of purpose to, or your personal motivation for, your commitment to diversity?
    • Have you conveyed genuine intentions for enhancing diversity?
    • In what ways have you or will you enhance diversity? What was or will be your impact?

See examples of contributions to diversity below.

Examples of contributions to diversity

The following are examples of ways a student could enhance diversity:

  • The student successfully has overcome significant educational, social, cultural or economic disadvantage or adversity in a way that would enable them to contribute to the student’s campus community.
  • The student has unique circumstances, experiences, skills or talents that would benefit others and would enhance the diversity of their program or campus.
  • The student has a strong interest in undertaking research that would address issues of diversity as it relates to ethnic communities, social equity and justice, or economic opportunity.
  • The student has shown a deep commitment to working with others through activities such as mentoring or tutoring to promote access to higher education for underserved groups.

Examples of experiences that indicate a student had to overcome disadvantage or adversity include:

  • Education in a school or college with limited facilities and educational opportunities.
  • Low family income or working full time in high school or as an undergraduate to support family and/or to pay for college.
  • Being the first member of the student’s immediate family to complete college.
  • Overcoming other social, cultural or economic barriers to pursue an education.
  • The specific race, ethnicity, gender or national origin of a nominee is not considered in selection, although barriers arising from these personal circumstances are considered.

Additional information

Questions about the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates can be emailed to education@asbmb.org.

Marion B. Sewer

Marion B. Sewer

Learn about past recipients


Ten Sewer scholarships announced

The ASBMB diversity award for undergraduates has doubled its reach this year.


Sewer scholarship program funding doubled

Meet the 2020 recipients of the ASBMB’s Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates.


Early support goes a long way

Austin Maduka, a recipient of the ASBMB's Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates, writes about why he engages in education and outreach activities..


Honoring undergrads who promote diversity

Meet the 2019 recipients of the Marion B. Sewer Scholarship, which is open to all American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology undergraduate members. This year’s deadline is June 1.