UM Alum Rebecca Sherbo Named 2019 Schmidt Fellow

In her first year as a Biological Sciences undergrad, Rebecca Sherbo (BSc/14) took an organic chemistry class taught by Dr.Philip Hultin. Utterly inspired by Hultin’s mastery of the subject and his style of teaching, Sherbo ultimately decided to switch to a Chemistry major. That decision has served her well, as Sherbo has recently been named one of the 2019 Schmidt Science Fellows, a prestigious year-long post-doctoral placement that comes with a stipend of $100,000.

An initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the Fellowship is delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust in order to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research. The program has an initial commitment of at least $25 million for the first three years and is the beginning of a broader $100 million effort by the Schmidt’s. As one of only twenty 2019 Schmidt Fellows, Sherbo will attend four global meetings with her fellow scholars, as well as have the opportunity to experience world-class academic institutions and try her hand in cutting-edge research laboratories. Her reaction to being named a fellow in this second year of the program?

“The Schmidt Fellowship is definitely an opportunity that I couldn’t even imagine having as a graduate student. On a professional level, I can’t wait to pivot my research direction, get out of my comfort zone and learn something new. The Fellowship will also provide me with unparalleled opportunities to grow my network and learn about areas relating to science like policy, leadership, and communication.”

“Having a cohort of other Fellows in different areas of science to learn from and connect with is such a unique opportunity. On a personal level, I think a lot of scientists struggle with something called “imposter syndrome”, or feeling like a fraud and doubting your achievements. I’m trying to use this Fellowship to build my confidence as a scientist and realize that I can make important contributions to science.”

Sherbo recently earned her PhD from the University of British Columbia, where her research focused on finding cleaner ways to perform common chemical transformations using renewable electricity. As a Schmidt Science Fellow, she will work on new ways to use microbes and renewable electricity to convert CO2 into biofuels. This work will enable the efficient storage of spare renewable electricity and consume waste CO2.

To learn more about Schmidt Science Fellows, visit this link: