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Bushnell Bioinformatic Scholarship

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Dec 1, 2024
Winners Announced
Jan 1, 2025
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate student
Bioinformatics, computer science, biology, or agriculture and plant sciences

Bioinformatics is an important but under-appreciated field that combines biology with chemistry, computer science, and other sciences.

The bioinformatics field plays an important part in studying illness and developing treatments for humans, animals, and plants. In addition to being a vital and impactful field, bioinformatics also comes with a competitive average salary of $170,000 per year, making it a lucrative career choice.

This scholarship is named after Brian Bushnell, developer of the bioinformatic tools suite BBtools, and aims to help future scientists build the bioinformatic skills required to evaluate large sets of biological data.

Any undergraduate students majoring in bioinformatics, computer science, biology, or agriculture and plant sciences may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, please submit two letters or recommendation, and tell us about your accomplishments within the field of bioinformatics and what your career goals are. Examples of personal development in this field can include but are not limited to, learning interfaces and software required bioinformatic analysis, development of new bioinformatic software, generating novel sequencing data, and/or improving currently available datasets.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published March 7, 2024
Essay Topic

Please describe your accomplishments within the field of bioinformatics and what your goals are for your career.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Paula Tovar
Baylor UniversityEl Paso, TX
If bioinformatics did not exist, I probably wouldn't have gone to college. Actually, I probably would have gone to college, but been miserable studying something mundane that did not interest me. Before I discovered bioinformatics, I planned on majoring in computer science and accepted my fate of pursuing a career in insurance analytics. I only found bioinformatics once I began researching computer science more, only because of the doubts in my head asking if this was the right path for me. The only thing I could think of when I discovered bioinformatics was "yes". Bioinformatics was immediately appealing to me. I was searching for a major that was an applied subject, a gateway into a strong job, something that was already specialized. Bioinformatics is all that for me and more. Using technology that not even my parents grew up with, I can create my own databases to observe, record, and analyze biological data. The combination of multiple academic areas, specifically math, biology, and computer science, is exhilarating to me. Strongly unique and intriguing, bioinformatics combines the best of these subjects to become its own field. Its interdisciplinarity attracts me in that I know I will continue to gain knowledge in my favorite subjects. Even though I had no previous computer science experience before, I was right when I knew this was what I wanted to study. Only a week away from completing my first semester of college at Baylor University, I have loved learning to program. CSI 1401 has taught me how to code in Python and is the foundational class all bioinformatics majors must take to graduate. Through this introduction to programming, I have learned how a computer functions, built-in functions and methods, variable assignment, containers, expressions, loops, user-defined functions, list comprehensions, string splicing, and so much more. I understand that I am considered a beginner in the coding world, but learning Python is one of my proudest accomplishments. Having no prior coding experience, this is a class I work tirelessly in to ensure my programming base is a strong one. Currently, I have held an A all semester. Additionally, I have begun to make connections with the bioinformatics professors at my university. I have a close relationship with my CSI 1401 professor, Professor McCreary. Every time I walk into his office, I am guaranteed to laugh. If I express concern for the content covered in class or if I have questions, Professor McCreary offers his help in a way that forces me to find the right answer. I have also been attending Dr. Benton's lab meeting every Friday afternoon. Dr. Benton is an assistant professor at Baylor University and has a research lab that focuses on gene regulation. Attending her meetings has inspired me to pursue a spot in her lab as an undergraduate researcher and has opened my eyes to the true application of bioinformatics. Making these connections at my university affirms my choice of study and has fortified my achievements. These professors are extremely supportive; they want me to succeed. Even though I am a freshman, I am currently looking to start graduate school after obtaining my Bachelor of Science. I may not be completely sure what career I want to pursue at this moment, but I am sure I want to obtain my Master's. I am highly interested in entering cancer research or combatting antibiotic resistance as a career. My journey to bioinformatics has only just begun, but it already feels that I have learned so much. I know I couldn't possibly learn all of it, but I can't wait to continue.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jan 1, 2025.