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Isabella Karabinas standing in front of shrubbery

Fulbright Award will take biochemistry senior to Spain to study neuroscience

Isabella Karabinas, biochemistry & biophysics senior who received the 2020 Fulbright Award

Oregon State University and the College of Science are thrilled to congratulate honors biochemistry & biophysics and psychology double major Isabella (“Bella”) Karabinas as one of three OSU students – and the only science student – to receive the 2020 Fulbright Award. A graduating senior, the Fulbright will provide funds for Karabinas to work at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid to study neuroscience.

Jeremy Chu, who graduated from OSU in 2018 with a degree in biology, is currently an alternate for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Macau. If selected, he will be assigned to a higher education institution where he will provide English tutorial support for local students.

The three 2020 OSU Fulbright recipients are among approximately 2,000 U.S. citizens to win the prestigious scholarship, which funds opportunities to study, conduct research and teach abroad for one academic year. Since 1946, funding for the program has been appropriated annually by the United States Congress to more than 390,000 participants to help form a more globally minded nation.

Already a renowned scholar, last year Karabinas was one of three students in the College of Science to receive a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s top undergraduate award for sophomores and juniors in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In summer 2018, she participated in a Gateways to the Laboratory internship, performing research at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Her project working on neurobiology and behavioral neuroscience helped crystallize her career goal to pursue an M.D. Ph.D. to become a practicing neurologist or psychiatrist.

“I didn’t expect my college experience to come together so well and so quickly in terms of finding my interests and my career path. But it comes together piece by piece in unexpected ways,” Karabinas said.

Although her coursework has shaped her thinking about her future, Karabinas explains that it was her research experiences that have most influenced her decision to pursue a career in biomedical research as a physician-scientist. For her Honors thesis, she studied the stress physiology associated with empathy and perspective-taking. The project afforded her the opportunity to design an experiment to test her own research question and to learn laboratory techniques in social psychology and molecular biology.

“I want to have the kind of career where I can ask questions directed at understanding human behavior from an integrated perspective of biopsychology and neuroscience. Human studies in neurobiology, systems biology and social psychology can tell us a lot about the way people behave in response to their environment, and how the sum of these interactions come to make up the individual,” explains Karabinas.

Karabinas has been supported by numerous scholarships, including the Zonta Club of Corvallis STEM Scholarship, the Southern Oregon Latino Scholarship and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund award. Most notably, she received the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Scholar award, which is given to interns for outstanding achievements in the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Gateways to the Laboratory Program. She is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society OSU Chapter.