Laurel Royer, a senior chemistry major at the University of the Virgin Islands, has been selected to receive a National Institutes of Health scholarship. She is one of 12 NIH award recipients, selected from a national pool of 200 applicants for the 2001-2002 academic year.
The scholarship covers full tuition and educational and living expenses, up to $20,000, according to a UVI release. As a condition of the the award, Royer has committed to a 10-week summer laboratory experience at the NIH and one year of NIH research service after graduation.
The scholarship can be extended year to year, Royer said, if a recipient maintains an acceptable grade-point average and passes muster in an interview.
Royer said she feels "blessed" by the award. She expressed awe at the credentials of the 22 finalists who were brought to Maryland for interviews prior to the naming of the 12 scholarship recipients. She said there were students from such large and prestigious schools as Yale, Tuskegee, Harvard and the University of Illinois at Urbana, and she felt honor for herself and for UVI, a small institution, to be among them.
Royer is the second UVI student to be so honored. Last year, an NIH scholarship went to junior chemistry major Sabrina Martyr. This, Royer said, brings recognition to UVI. The National Institutes of Health is one of the world's foremost medical research centers and the federal focal point for medical research in the United States.
Royer has conducted research at Michigan State University and Purdue University during her college summers. Last summer, at Purdue, she researched the chemistry of "Brefeldin A," a compound with anti-cancer properties. She presented a poster exhibition describing her summer work at the recent UVI Fall Research Symposium. Her experience at Purdue built on her chemistry studies at UVI and her earlier research at Michigan State.
During the 2000-2001 academic year, she worked with UVI’s Dr. Alice Stanford on the molecular genetics of an endangered plant, Solanum conocarpum, formerly found throughout the Caribbean but now found only on St. John.
Royer plans to earn a doctorate in organic chemistry in order to pursue a career in medicinal chemistry. She is the daughter of Margaret Romain of Vieille Case, Dominica, and Stephen Royer of St. Croix.


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