July 31, 2020
Zera Montemayor
Zera Montemayor thanks the Patel family for their support.

Chhotubhai and Savitaben Patel Fellowship Fund

Established on October, 6, 2005. 

This fellowship was established in 2005 by Dinesh (PhD’78), Kiran, and Pradip Patel to honor their parents.  This fund will allow the College to award the Chhotubhai Patel Fellowship and the Savitaben Patel Fellowship to first-year PhD candidates at the College in Pharmaceutics.

Their scholarship recipient wrote the family the following thank you letter in recognition of their generosity in FY2020. 

Dear Patel family, 

I want to thank you very much for your generosity. With this fellowship, I am able to do what many graduate students across the country are not able to do; focus on academics, without worrying too much about money. I not only get to study and learn about things I’m passionate about and love, but I am getting paid to do it, again not something everyone has the privilege to do. Thank you.

I am just a small-town girl from the middle of nowhere west Texas. Early on, I knew science had a special place in my heart. I loved learning about cells and hydrogen bonding. Despite my love for science, I never felt encouraged to be a scientist, in fact, it was unclear what that career could even look like, it was always “you should be a doctor” from my family and teachers. I was told that so often, that I started to believe that I wanted to be a doctor. However, during my sophomore year of college, after working in an organic chemistry lab for a semester, I discovered my true passion. I loved being in lab, even on days when I was just washing glassware or when reactions were just not working, since that time I haven’t pictured myself doing anything else. I even wrote and successfully defended an undergraduate thesis over my research. My dedication to that project allowed me to win an award, “The Dean’s Commendation for Postgraduate Preparation.” I chose to come to the University of Michigan, because of its wonderful reputation and rigorousness. I knew I could become the best scientist I could be at this program. Despite being a first-generation graduate student, I knew I would have an amazing support system here.

I am pursing a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences, because it combines my love for chemistry and biology, and my passion for biomedically relevant research. More specifically, I want to discover new drugs and improve our current therapeutics. Importantly, I don’t see my career stopping at the lab bench. I want to be a professor that truly cares about their students. I want to provide students the same opportunities my research professor provided for me; to show students how amazing science and research is. I will be a support system for those students that don’t have anyone to relate to. I want to show how rewarding research is to curious young scientists everywhere.

I just want to thank you again for this very generous award. I do not know how I will ever be able to repay you. Hopefully, I can provide another very eager, but also very apprehensive graduate student the same opportunity that you have afforded me.

Zera Montemayor