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Dan Bolin Undergraduate Student Awards

The Dan Bolin Award is presented to outstanding undergraduate students who are juniors in the College of Natural Science in recognition of their leadership qualities, community service and academic abilities. The award is named in memory of former College of Natural Science student Dan Bolin.

Recipients are chosen by the NatSci Student Advisory Council from nominations submitted by students in NatSci. Awards are presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

The Dan Bolin award recipients receive a one-time stipend funded by the NatSci AA Endowed Scholarship Fund. Your gift to this fund will enable the NatSci to grow the scholarship amount granted to future award winners.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford, NatSci Alumni Relations via email or (517) 884-0290.

2022 Dan Bolin Undergraduate Awards


Zainab Fayyaz came to Michigan State from Kalamazoo, Mich., and is a neuroscience major with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the Honors College and a participant in the MSU Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program. She has served as vice president of the MSU Pad the Mitten organization, which works to eliminate the period stigma, and packages period products for local shelters. Fayyaz serves as president of the MSU Spartan Shifa Organization, where she is involved with events and the discussion around eliminating the stigma of mental health in the Muslim community. She has been a volunteer with Sparrow Hospital’s outpatient surgery, a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and a Honduras Medical TeleBrigade. She also worked as a patient safety assistant at Bronson Methodist Hospital and as a research assistant in the Fenn Lab at MSU. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester and maintained a 3.94 GPA during her time at MSU.


Kiinga Kioi comes to Michigan State from Nairobi, Kenya, and is an actuarial science major with a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Kioi is a member of the Honor Society Foundation, a supervisor in intramural sports, and has served as vice president of business development and as a business analyst for Spartan Blockchain Solutions. He has also been a member of the MSU Entrepreneurship Association, the MSU Actuarial Science Club and the African Student Leadership Association. Kioi has volunteered at the Kelsey Food Bank and at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. He has received numerous prestigious honors, including the Resolution Project Award, the Global Neighbors Scholarship, the Global Spartan Scholarship, the Presidential Study Scholarship Award, a Praxis Academy Fellowship and an international student grant. Kioi has work experience as an actuarial analyst intern, a marketing and events intern and as a career peer coach. He has been on the Dean’s List every semester and maintained a 3.78 GPA.


Pelli Mechnikov comes to Michigan State from Huntington Woods, Mich., and is a neuroscience major with a minor in Jewish studies. Mechnikov is a member of the Honors College and currently serves as president of the Spartans for Israel organization. She has extensive volunteer experience with the Yad Ezra Food Pantry and Greenhouse, the Origami Rehabilitation center, the Aliza Center and the Absolute Care senior residential facility. She has won the James and Anna Hersch Summer Internship Scholarship, the Arts and Letters Finifter Scholarship, the General Motors Endowed Scholarship and the Walter Wolpin Expendable Scholarship. She is currently a research assistant in MSU’s Clinical Neuroscience Lab and was previously a research assistant in the THINK Lab at Wayne State University. She has also worked as a mathematics tutor privately and for MSU’s Student Athlete Support Services. Mechnikov has been on the Dean’s List every semester and maintains a 4.0 GPA.


Madeleine Russell came to Michigan State from Marshall, Mich., and is a microbiology major with a minor in bioethics. Russell is a member of the Honors College and serves as a student leader for its Academic Scholars competition and recruiting; she is also a liaison for MOSAIC, a group that fosters multiculturalism. She is involved with many student organizations—serving as treasurer of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Club, and as vice president of the MSU Irish Dance Club. She also served as MSU Tower Guard president. Russell worked as a resident assistant in the residence halls and has been involved with residence hall government. Her volunteer experience includes positions with the Sparrow Endoscopy Department and the Sparrow vaccine clinic, and as a tutor for the Eastwood Village Network Center. Her many awards and honors include the DAAD RISE German Academic Exchange Fellowship, the National Merit MSU Scholarship, Undergraduate Research Support scholarships, and selection as a Dean’s Research Scholar for the College of Natural Science. Aside from her involvement in clubs and volunteering, she has been employed as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant in the MMG department, a home health aide and an MSU orientation leader. She advanced her knowledge through research as a Professorial Assistant in the Comstock Lab in MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Russell has been on the Dean’s List every semester and maintains a cumulative GPA of 4.0.