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Summer scholarship helps research go the distance

A year and a half into her research project, Eriene-Heidi Sidhom, A13, was quickly narrowing in on an important link between cell membrane receptors and treatments for diseases like diabetes. The end of her junior year was fast approaching, and she didn’t want to leave her experiment dormant for the summer—she was onto something.

But Medford can be expensive. To finish the research, Sidhom would need funding.

The Robert R. Dewald Summer Scholarship turned out to be a lifeline. It may have even set Sidhom on a path to a career in research.

Endowed in honor of Professor Emeritus Robert Dewald of the Tufts chemistry department, the scholarship fund provides recipients with stipend money enabling them to do full-time summer research during their time at Tufts. For Sidhom, the scholarship covered her rent and living expenses while she worked long hours in the lab. Not only did she make significant progress on her research, but she also worked closely with her mentor, Professor of Chemistry Krishna Kumar, who helped her strengthen her skills in data analysis and critical thinking as she pursued her project.

Says Sidhom, it was not just the “incredible strides” in her research that defined her summer. In her many hours working alongside Kumar, she learned just what it takes to be a serious scientist. “During these three months, I figured out that I want to do research full time,” she says.

Without financial support, both her project and her future would have been left uncertain—something not lost on this researcher-to-be. “I’m grateful to have had the chance to make new discoveries and find my passion thanks to this scholarship,” she says.