Microbiology Ph.D. Student Gets $75-K Fellowship

News Date
Microbiology Nepal NSF $75-K student Pandit (2).JPG
ASU's Rachana Pandit, a native of Nepal (photo credit: David Campbell/ASU).
Microbiology Ph.D. Student Awarded $75-K from Alabama EPSCoR
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
A fifth-year Ph.D. student in the University's Microbiology program has been awarded a $75,000 fellowship for her study of the Coronavirus, which is the cause of the COVID-19 Pandemic. ASU's Rachana Pandit, a native of Nepal, is the proud recipient of the "Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, Graduate Research Scholars Program (EPSCoR GRSP).
"This is the first time that I have ever won anything in my life, and I am beyond words in explaining my gratitude to the Alabama EPSCoR officials and Alabama State University's Microbiology program," Pandit said. "To win this fellowship is exciting, incredible and a great reward that furthers my goal of wanting to use my research prowess to help humankind fight the scourge of deadly viruses."
The Nepal native explained that she is accustomed to being impacted by things of large proportions. After all, the Himalayan Mountains are visible from her home. So, she was undaunted by the enormous task of doing her part to eradicate the COVID-19 virus.
"I always knew that my interest and ability in science would one day have me working to obtain a doctorate in some subject, and when it came time for me to choose the direction and major of my Ph. D. studies, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2019 in a devastating manner. It developed at a critical time in my life and became the focus of my studies and ultimately my doctoral thesis," stated Pandit, who will graduate in 2024. 
The advisor to the doctoral students in Alabama State's Microbiology department, Dr. Qiana Matthews, is very proud of Pandit and her quest to fulfill the requirements of her Ph.D. studies in Microbiology.
"I am very proud that the Alabama EPSCoR program saw fit to reward her research with such a nice fellowship, which will help her finish her studies at ASU," said Matthews, a full professor of Microbiology. 
"Her research concentrates on a most important topic that affects such a large portion of the Earth. This EPSCoR award speaks volumes, not only on Rachana's intellect, but on the success of the University's Microbiology program. This is evidence to the world that we and our students are on the cutting-edge of research that helps both lessen the effects of disease, and from an ASU perspective, helps us recruit even more gifted students to our Microbiology graduate program and continue this cycle of greatness."
"This bodes well for the success of the University's Microbiology department and the continued good future of Alabama State University as a world-class institution of higher education," Matthews shared.
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.