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University of Wisconsin-Madison

Donor-Created Funding Supports Graduate Student Research

Avan Colah and Christopher Stevens with the Marvel family.
The graduate student recipients of the John Ray (PhD '59) and Mary Jane Marvel Fellowship, Christopher Stevens (left) and Avan Colah (right), with Samantha, Tammi, and David Marvel.

Alumni and friends expand opportunities for the School of Pharmacy’s exceptional graduate students 

By Hanzhu Tang 

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy has a long history of graduating leaders in research and practice. In addition to our strong curriculum and renowned faculty, our strong alumni network and the generosity of alumni and friends fuel the progressive development and continual successes of our students and ensure that the School remains a prominent leader in not only the United States but also internationally.  
Among donations of time and talent, our alumni and friends have also created numerous fellowships, scholarships, and awards to support students in the School’s Pharmaceutical Sciences or Health Services Research in Pharmacy PhD programs.  
This year, the School’s graduate students benefitted from two newly created opportunities: the Marvel Family Fellowship, created by the estate of John (PhD ’59) and Mary Marvel, and the Bolton Fellowship, created in honor of Sanford Bolton (MS ’56, PhD ’58). 
“He loved his experience at UW–Madison and spoke highly of his student and alumni experience,” says Eric Goldman, a representative of Bolton’s estate who accepted Bolton’s 2019 Citation of Merit award on his behalf. “His thoughtful giving philosophy impacted so many people and continues to give.” 
Ke Wang, as a first-year graduate student in Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program, received the inaugural Bolton Fellowship and is just one among the total 44 graduate student award recipients.  
“With the fellowship, I can spend more time studying and learning, which can lead to better retention of knowledge,” says Wang, who is currently rotating through faculty labs in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division to find the best fit for his research in biochemistry and enzyme kinetics. “Also, since I won’t have to balance a work schedule, I will have a more flexible schedule for experiments, lectures, and research papers.” 
Wang was inspired by Bolton’s career, which includes multiple inventions, faculty positions, and consultation work in the pharmaceutical industry.  
“Dr. Bolton was a great businessman, scientist, and statistician. He loved researching and UW–Madison very much, and I am grateful for his support,” says Wang. 
Despite the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program welcoming its largest-ever incoming class in Fall 2019 semester, each student will receive at least one semester of fellowship support.  
“Without this generosity from our alumni and friends, we wouldn’t be able to support nearly as many graduate students,” says Associate Professor Charles Lauhon, assistant dean for graduate studies. 

Associate professor Charles Lauhon with Travel award recipients: Zack Rosenkrans, Shaurya Chanana, Bin Wang, Mark Cadena, Montira Tangsangasaksri, Ting-Jia Gu, Xiaolei Li, and Dacheng FanThe graduate student recipients of the John Ray and Mary Jane Marvel Fellowship: Christopher Stevens and Avan Colah, with Samantha, Tammi, and David Marvel.Ken Connors with current and former recipients of his fellowship by School of Pharmacy bannerTeaching assistant award-winners Tanvee Thakur, Niying Li, Connor Blankenship, and Xin Yao with Associate Professor Charles Lauhon next to School of Pharmacy bannerGraduate student Tanvee Thakur, winner of a teaching assistant award and Joseph B. Wiederholt Fellow, with Associate Professor Charles Lauhon.Associate Professor Charles Lauhon with scholarship recipientAnne Turco, scholarship recipient, with professor Paul Marker next to School of Pharmacy bannerBetty Chewning speaking into microphoneChuck Lauhon speaking at podiumChuck Lauhon speaking at podiumEvent attendee smiling at tableEvent attendees talking togetherDave Mott listening to someone speaking at tableStudent smiling at camera at eventProfessionals speaking together at eventMel de Villiers speaking to associate at eventStudents talking togetherStaff and students speaking together at eventPharm students smiling togetherSteve Swanson speaking into microphone at eventStaff listening to speaker at eventPharm students listening to speaker at eventDeepika Rao, scholarship recipient, listening to speaker at eventPharm students listening to speakerPharm students listening to speaker

Here is the full list of the 2019 graduate student award-winners: 


  • Kenneth A. Connors Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, supported by Jordan (BS ’65, MS ’67, PhD ’69) and Jana Cohen  
    Zicong Wang, Siddharth Uppal (PharmSci) 
  • Dohmen Company Foundation Fellowship  
    Zhaomeng Feng, Mabel Jung (PharmSci) 
  • Higuchi Family Fellowship 
    Chih-Chun (Roger) Chang (PharmSci) 
  • Higuchi Scholarship 
    Sookyung Hwang (PharmSci) 
  • Leon & Joan Lachman Fellowshipsupported by Leon (PhD ’56) and Joan Lachman 
    Michael Cunningham, Caroline Hopkins, Sookyung Hwang, Kaila Javius Jones, Hannah Miles (PharmSci) 
  • John Ray & Mary Jane Marvel Fellowshipsupported by the estate of John (PhD ’59) and Mary Marvel 
    Avan Colah, Christopher Stevens (PharmSci) 
  • Daniel H. Rich Graduate Scholarshipsupported by Roger Tung (PhD ’87) and other donors 
    Chelsi Almodovar Rivera, Caroline Hopkins, and Kaila Javius-Jones (PharmSci) 
  • Joseph B. Wiederholt Fellowship, supported by Peggy Wiederholt and donors 
    Tanvee Thakur (HSRP) 
  • Robert Wills Distinguished Graduate Scholarship 
    Michael Cunningham and Hannah Miles (PharmSci) 
  • Sanford & Phyllis Bolton Fellowship, created in honor of Sanford Bolton (MS ’56, PhD ’58) 
    Dylan Sebo, Ke Wang (PharmSci) 
  • Mern Keir Fellowship, supported by the late Mern Keir 
    Peijing Jia (PharmSci) 
  • John & Jane Roudebush Fellowship, supported by the late John and Jane Roudebush 
    Cynthia Choi (PharmSci) 
  • Science-Medicine Graduate Research Scholarship  
    Chelsi Almodovar Rivera (PharmSci) 
  • Clarence W. Sondern Fellowship 
    Maeleigh Tidd (HSRP) 

Travel Awards 

  • Donald Witiak Graduate Travel Award in Drug Discoverysupported by Deanne Witiak and other donors 
    Shaurya Chanana, Dacheng Fan, Xiaolei Li (PharmSci) 
  • Joseph Robinson Graduate Travel Award in Drug Delivery, supported by Bonna and the late Joe Robinson and other donors
    Montira Tangsangasaksri and Zachary Rosenkrans (PharmSci) 
  • Drug Action Graduate Travel Award (“Lost Boys of Pharmacology”) 
    Mark Cadena, Ting-Jia Gu, Bin Wang (PharmSci) 

Other Awards

  • George Zografi Educational Advancement Fund, supported by George and Dorothy Zografi and other donors 
    Yuhui Li, Lauren Repp (PharmSci) 
  • Dr. Razia Zaman-Dr. Shahanara Zaman Saroya Graduate Award for Excellence in Research & Scholarship  
    Anne Turco (Molecular & Environmental Toxicology Graduate Student) 
  • William J. Tillman Teaching Assistant Award  
    Connor Blankenship (PharmSci)  
  • Teaching Assistant Awards  
    Niying Li (HSRP), Lauren Repp (PharmSci), Tanvee Thakur (HSRP), Xin Yao (PharmSci)