Marcel Elkouri '21 uses a microscope in the lab, a component of his Independent Study research

Neuroscience senior awarded fellowship to pursue graduate studies

Marcel Elkouri ’21 values opportunities for mentorship at Wooster

April 12, 2021   /  
Marcel Elkouri '21
Marcel Elkouri ’21

Marcel Elkouri ’21, a neuroscience major at The College of Wooster, was recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a five-year fellowship, which includes three years of financial support through a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 allowance toward the cost of education. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) seeks to distinguish and support graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines. Elkouri will attend the University of Michigan later this year to earn a doctorate in neuroscience through the institution’s Program in Biomedical Sciences. In his application, Elkouri emphasized his passion for mentorship and to help other Latinx students in STEM fields. “This isn’t just an award for writing good science,” he said. “It’s a reminder that my identity has a place in neuroscience. 

The fellowship will allow Elkouri more flexibility in the projects he can pursue. It also means he does not have to work as a teaching assistant, but as a former STEM Zone intern, Elkouri wants to help others any way he can. “I love teaching and being able to show folks they can understand science if they have the right teacher,” he explained. Elkouri has also appreciated the mentorship in his life from faculty and staff during his time as a College of Wooster student.  “I can’t pick just one—the collective support I’ve received here has helped mold me into who I am today,” he said. “Being part of such a tight knit community really helped me get comfortable asking questions to my professors to better engage with the material. There’s not a single moment where I felt like there wasn’t at least a few people rooting for me.” 

Elkouri is considering a career in science communication and is grateful to go into graduate school with tutoring experience. He also credits the completion of his Independent Study for instilling confidence as he moves to the next stage of life. “Having gone through the I.S. process helped me refine my skills in setting realistic goals and feeling okay if I don’t reach them,” Elkouri said. “Setbacks are common in life and in science and you have to learn to be resilient.” 

Above: Marcel Elkouri ’21 uses a microscope in the lab, a component of his Independent Study research