BS Chemistry Alumnus Su Nguyen named 2023 Schmidt Science Fellow

Suong Nguyen

Schmidt Science Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 a year for up to two years of postdoctoral research in a discipline different from their Ph.D at a world-leading lab anywhere around the globe. They will attend a Global Meeting Series and training program that introduces them to new research ideas, techniques and questions; exposes them to a wide range of cutting-edge science, leading thinkers and institutions; and delivers tailored training in science communication, leadership and the facilitation of interdisciplinary research. The fellows will also receive mentoring from renowned and accomplished senior scientists.

Nguyen is currently a chemistry postdoc in the laboratory of Jeremiah Johnson at MIT. While in graduate school at Princeton, she developed light-driven, catalytic methodologies for organic synthesis, biomass valorization, plastic waste recycling and functionalization of quantum sensing materials. As a Schmidt Science fellow, she will now pivot from organic chemistry to nanomaterials, where she hopes to develop new strategies to achieve high levels of control over the structure and properties of nanomaterials and explore their potential for use in therapeutic applications.

The sixth cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows will join the lifelong community of Fellows, now totaling 145 members from 34 nationalities. 

Commenting on the new fellows, Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, said: “History provides powerful examples of what happens when scientists are given the freedom to ask big questions which can achieve real breakthroughs across disciplines. Schmidt Science Fellows are tackling climate destruction, discovering new drugs against disease, developing novel materials, using machine learning to understand the drivers of human health, and much more.  This new cohort will add to this legacy in applying scientific discovery to improve human health and opportunity, and preserve and restore essential planetary systems.”

The latest Fellows include the Program’s first nationals from Brazil, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Macedonia and the first Fellows to be nominated from Brazilian and Indian universities. The new cohort was selected based on their scientific achievements, talent, leadership characteristics and commitment to harnessing interdisciplinary science, as well as their potential to address global challenges, including climate destruction, neurodegenerative disease, and food insecurity and to improve mental health, drug discovery, energy security and more.

“I am proud to welcome the 2023 cohort to our global community of Schmidt Science Fellows. We know that ambitious interdisciplinary science is essential if we are going to tackle the critical challenges we face as human society,” said Megan Kenna, Executive Director of Schmidt Science Fellows. “Interdisciplinary approaches bring together different perspectives, people, techniques and insights, meaning we solve bigger problems, faster. I am delighted that this diversity of perspectives is reflected in our community, with 11 new nominating universities seeing Fellows selected, including our first from institutions in Brazil and India, and 14 nationalities represented in this year’s group.”

Schmidt Science Fellows is an initiative of Schmidt Futures, delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust. The Schmidt Science Fellows Program helps scientists solve bigger problems faster by identifying, developing, and amplifying the next generation of science leaders, building a community of scientists and supporters of interdisciplinary science, and leveraging this network to drive sector-wide change.

Founded by Eric (Princeton Class of 1976) and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. 

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