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Student Awards

At graduation each year, the MS-RSM program confers two awards to acknowledge the most outstanding student on the thesis track (Makowski Award) and non-thesis track (Teresa K. Woodruff Award). Recipients of these awards are evaluated on their academic performance, their research contributions, their engagement in the Center for Reproductive Science (CRS), their overall contributions to reproductive science and medicine and their future plans to continue training or stay involved in the field. The awardees will be announced during the MS-RSM Graduation Celebration and will give a brief overview of their research accomplishments.

Makowski Award for Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student (Thesis)

The Makowski Award recognizes a single exemplary MS-RSM student on the thesis track each year at graduation. It was established by Dr. T. Rajendra Kumar, tenured professor and Edgar L., Patricia M. Makowski and Family Endowed Chair in the Division of Reproductive Sciences and associate vice-chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  Kumar has partnered with CRS to confer the annual award.

This award is endowed by the family of Dr. Edgar Makowski, a prominent physician who practiced at the University of Colorado and whose named endowed chair is now held by Kumar. In the spirit of Makowski’s dedication to women’s health, Kumar has chosen to award $1,000 annually to the MS-RSM student with the most outstanding and well-rounded record.

Past Recipients

Graduation Year Recipient Thesis Mentor Thesis Title

Randa Abboud

Joshua Halpern, MD

Fertility Preservation in Transfeminine Patients


Chanakarn Suebthawinkul

Francesca Duncan, PhD

Establishing Live Imaging Time-Lapse Parameters of Oocyte Meiotic Maturation


Hannah Anvari

Francesca Duncan, PhD Melissa Simon, MD

Comparison of ovarian aging markers does not reveal differences between black and white women


Emily Hayes

Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD

Integrins: The Alarm Clock that Wakes Up Our Follicles?


Jennifer Rowley

Francesca Duncan, PhD

 The Ovarian Hyaluronan Network is Dysregulated with Advanced Reproductive Age


Luhan Tracy Zhou

Francesca Duncan, PhD

 O-GlcNAcylation is a highly-conserved modification with distinct subcellular targets during meiosis in bovine and human gametes

Teresa K. Woodruff Award for Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student (Non-Thesis)

The Teresa K. Woodruff Award for the Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student (formerly the CRS Award for the Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student) recognizes an exemplary non-thesis track student each year at graduation. 

Dr. Teresa K. Woodruff, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and MSU Foundation Professor of Obstetrics Gynecology, Reproductive Biology and Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University, was the founder of the MS-RSM program and served as the director of CRS from 2015-2020. In the spirit of Woodruff’s dedication to reproductive science and medicine, each year the MS-RSM will award $1,000 to a MS-RSM non-thesis track student with the most outstanding and well-rounded record.

Past Recipients

Graduation Year Recipient Non-Thesis Mentor Non-Thesis Project Title
2023 Jessica Miller Pamela Monahan, PhD Examining interactions between activin and notch signaling in ovarian granulosa cells 

Pari Johnson

Pamela Monahan, PhD

Characterization of vascular defects in a rat model of preeclampsia.


Katy Trotter

Pamela Monahan, PhD

Characterization of vascular defects in placental development in a rat model of preeclampsia


Noelle Ozimek

Pamela Monahan, PhD

Investigating relationship between chromosome structure and the basis of chromosome missegregation


Amber Kuhn

Wenan Qiang, MD, PhD

Investigating the effects of a novel ECM scaffold on patient-derived 3D organoids of breast cancer cells

Application & Criteria

Both awards share a similar application process and award criteria. 

Application Process

The student will nominate themself to receive the award by submitting the following the MS-RSM program leadership:

  • Nomination letter detailing how the student embodies the award criteria detailed below (1 page)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Unofficial Northwestern University transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from a CRS and/or MS-RSM faculty member (typically the thesis or non-thesis track mentor)

Award Criteria

  • Academic achievement while a student in the MS-RSM program at Northwestern University
  • Successful completion of the MS-RSM thesis or MS-RSM non-thesis final exam
  • Engagement with the CRS and MS-RSM community by attending events regularly and/or volunteering for events
  • Contribution to reproductive science research through internal and external conference presentations, abstracts, attending training and/or volunteering that promotes research or reproductive health
  • Identification of future training (academic program or employment) to continue in the field of reproductive science and medicine
  • Faculty evaluation of the student’s academic achievement and engagement in CRS.

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