University of Richmond Senior Receives Competitive Rising Black Scientist Award for Academic Talent, Commitment to Research

Award Provides Financial Support for Professional Development Opportunities
February 16, 2023

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — University of Richmond senior Camryn Carter, of North Chesterfield, Virginia, has been selected by Cell Press for a Rising Black Scientist Award.

Cell Press publishes more than 50 scientific journals. The Rising Black Scientist Awards support talented and motivated young Black scientists and provide funds to support professional development.

Carter is one of four awardees and one of two undergraduate student scholars. She was selected as the winner in the “undergraduate physical sciences, earth and environmental sciences, or data science” category.

An essay Carter penned as part of the application, “One Less Weary Smile,” was published online this month in the journal Cell.

“The essay focuses on my scientific inspiration, vision, and goals, my commitment to an inclusive scientific community, and how these all fit together on my journey,” said Carter. “I am passionate about chemistry and committed to using research as a tool to develop solutions to significant problems.”

Carter is double majoring in computer science and chemistry. Under the mentorship of chemistry professor Carol Parish, Carter’s research during her time at UR has focused on inhibitor design to combat COVID-19. Carter was part of a research team that performed computational simulations to study the omicron variant and how it gains entry into human cells. She was the lead author of an article detailing this research for the Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modeling, currently one of the journal’s most downloaded articles.

“Any scholar would be thrilled to have their paper cited among a journal’s most downloaded content, and it’s an especially notable achievement for a paper with an undergraduate as the lead author,” said Parish, Floyd D. and Elisabeth S. Gottwald Professor of Chemistry and associate provost for academic integration. “It speaks to both the caliber of the research and to Camryn’s talent.”

“I’ve closely mentored more than 100 students in undergraduate research over the years, and Camryn stands out for her level of commitment to scientific research, and the pursuit of solutions to important problems is impressive,” Parish said.

Carter participated in UR’s Integrated and Inclusive science program and URISE, a pre-first-year program that aims to increase the number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and math disciplines.

“Camryn was chosen from a large pool of worthy applicants, both because of the quality of her essay and for her future potential to have a positive impact,” said John W. Pham, editor-in-chief of Cell. “I was inspired by her story of finding people in her life who could help her see and develop her own remarkable abilities and apply them to things that she cares about. I hope that her example will inspire others like her to persevere, excel, and to use their talents to address important challenges.”

As part of the award, Carter will receive financial support toward her professional development, including travel to a science conference of her choice within the Cell Press network. Carter is also a recipient of a Beckman scholarship, which supports student research in the sciences.