Chemistry graduate student Islamiyat Lawal is the recipient of a 2019 International Peace Scholarship, which provides funds for women from other countries to study in the U.S. or Canada.

Lawal, who is from Nigeria, will receive a $12,500 scholarship to help cover expense while she pursues her doctoral degree at UVM. She arrived to UVM last fall and was drawn to the University for its research opportunities and low student-to-faculty ratio.

The first-year student says she also chose UVM because she admired the research of Professor Matthias Brewer, who specializes in organic synthesis and natural product chemistry.

“I had always wanted to study outside of Nigeria. I applied to a lot of schools but Dr. Brewer’s research was a big reason I came to UVM,” she says. “I originally wanted to be a doctor. I’m a chemist and I love anything that involves improving quality of life, ranging from nutrition to drug synthesis.”

Dr. Brewer is Lawal’s principal investigator at UVM.

“This award is a testament to Islamiyat’s work ethic and dreams for the future,” Dr. Brewer says. “The awarding body clearly felt as I do that Islamiyat will achieve great things in her career. We are fortunate to have her with us here at UVM.”

Lawal, who earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, plans to complete her PhD at UVM in five years.  After UVM, she hopes to work for a pharmaceutical company and also find ways to inspire other young women from Nigeria to pursue science.

“I hope to make an improvement in medicine in my own way,” she says. “I’ll be looking for ways to make an impact.”




Erica Houskeeper