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Four NatSci undergrads receive Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarships

Four College of Natural Science undergraduate students were among five Michigan State University students to receive a 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship from the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

Mikalya Cooper, human biology sophomore; Angel Edwards, chemistry senior and Drew Science Scholar; Ayo Ifaturoti, physiology junior and Drew Science Scholar; and Breanna Williams, human biology sophomore and Drew Science Scholar, were honored with the award for their stewardship and leadership in actively engaging in building inclusive communities in ways that fight injustice and promote equality for all on every possible level.

“We’re delighted these students are being recognized with this scholarship for their academic achievements, the work they are doing on campus and in the community to promote inclusion, equity and justice, and their commitment to make this an integral part of their careers and life’s work,” said Jerry Caldwell, director of the Charles Drew Science Scholars program. “This scholarship is a great help to them on their journey, and we’re very proud of them.”

Headshot of Mikayla Cooper
Mikayla Cooper

Cooper said that winning this honor means a lot to her, not only because it’s the first award she’s ever received but, more importantly, because it recognizes the acts of leadership that she’s taken within her community to help promote positive change.

“With this award, I'm one step closer to finishing school and accomplishing things that could change the world for the better,” Cooper said. “My biggest goal is to provide proper health care for women of all colors because many people are unaware of the challenge's minorities face when bearing children. I think it's important to help those who need it the most within your community and, as I move into my career, I will do everything my power to ensure all women have a safe experience when bringing a new life into this world.”

Heashot of Angel Edwards
Angel Edwards

The scholarship helped Edwards alleviate the stress and financial burden of covering her tuition and books and allowed her to network with some of the great faculty at Michigan State.

“Being a recipient has boosted my confidence, confirming that I am on the right track to achieving my goals,” said Edwards, who aspires to become a clinical researcher for a pharmaceutical company focusing on the advancement of cardiovascular research for minority patients. “My ultimate goal is to open a clinic in an unprivileged community with a focus on drug adherence and awareness, and to organize and co-found an organization for minority students who are interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy.”

Headshot of Ayo Ifaturot
Ayo Ifaturoti

For Ifaturoti, being recognized with the scholarship means a lot to her both personally and professionally.

“This award will help me pursue my goal of becoming a pediatrician and will allow me to continue on my journey to help various children in need of medical care as well as being a positive impact on their lives,” she said.

Headshot of Breanna Williams
Breanna Willams

The scholarship will help Williams further her education and continue her goal of becoming an OB/GYN specializing in perinatology.

“My goal is to help women in underserved areas gain access to high quality healthcare,” Williams said. “This award provides me the opportunity to continue pushing for equal and accessible health care for others. When helping the community, I think engaging the younger generation is most important. In my future work, mentoring students will be an extremely important part of my endeavors. Educating youth on how they can make a difference is imperative.” 


Banner image: The College of Natural Science (NatSci) at Michigan State University is home to 29 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences. The college provides world-class educational opportunities to more than 5,500 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoc students. There are 800+ faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide.