Rowen Jane Odango ’17 (Chemistry), a graduate student researcher in CSUN’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was honored at the virtual 33rd Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium on Jan. 10, where she received the 2021 California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award.
Odango was one of two students to receive the CSU systemwide honor, which recognizes the extraordinary achievements of student teachers in biotechnology-related courses and programs. With the recognition, Odango also received a monetary prize to help support her education.
Odango combines her student teaching with her experience as a person of color, an underrepresented minority within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), to support a diverse group of students in developing science communication skills. As a graduate student at CSUN, she has taught 13 sections of chemistry lab classes. She also has worked as a tutor and peer learning facilitator in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and as a chemistry tutor with CSUN’s biomedical training program, Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity – Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research (BUILD PODER).
CSUPERB provides grants, opportunities and awards to CSU biotechnology programs, faculty and students to pursue its mission to help develop a strong professional workforce in the field of biotechnology.
“I was extremely honored to be selected as a recipient of this award,” Odango said. “Being a female person of color myself, I have always strived to advocate for diversity within STEM. It has been such a rewarding experience teaching and working with the diverse student population here at CSUN.”
Odango is also a member of the 2020-21 cohort of the CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar Program, which provides guidance and mentorship for students preparing for success in doctoral programs.