Howard University Graduate Jaquesta Adams Named 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow


2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellow Jaquesta AdamsWASHINGTON –Howard University 2020 graduate Jaquesta Adams is blazing the trail as a high-achieving student pursuing a career in STEM. Adams was recently named one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2020 Graduate Research Fellows. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in STEM fields and has funded over 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships since 1952.

"On behalf of Howard University, it brings me great pleasure to congratulate Ms. Jaquesta Adams for being awarded the 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “We are proud of Ms. Adams’ accomplishments in the field of biochemistry and recognize this award and others as a testament to Howard’s commitment to academic excellence and to diversifying STEM fields so they represent our society.”

Adams, a chemistry major, math and biology minor from Opa-Locka, Florida, made history in 2019 as the first Howard University student to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, but her academic and scientific achievements do not end there. Since becoming a Goldwater Scholar, Adams has received several awards from Howard University’s Department of Chemistry, including the Dr. John V. Golding Award for outstanding performance as a junior chemistry major, the Dr. Preston T. Talbert Memorial Award for best proficiency in elementary biochemistry, and the Instrumental Chemistry Laboratory Departmental Award.

As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Adams will receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 as well as a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, paid to the institution of her choosing. In addition, Adams will have opportunities for international research and professional development and the freedom to conduct her own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education she chooses to pursue.

“Being an NSF recipient is very meaningful to me because I could have never imagined gaining national recognition for my research four years ago,” says Adams. “This award is both a testament to the mentorship I have received and dedication I have poured into my work since matriculating at Howard. It is incredibly humbling to know that others see potential in me to produce significant contributions to research. I am excited for the freedom and opportunity being an NSF Fellow will give me as I enter my graduate studies and begin to establish myself in academia.”

In addition to her department awards, Adams has been invited to conduct research and present her research for some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Adams spent last summer as an Amgen Scholar at Harvard University where she worked on the biochemical functionalization of neuron-like electronics and was invited to present her research at Rice University’s Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium. She also presented her senior research at the annual National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) conference where she was recognized as NOBCCHE’s 2019 Winifred Burks-Houck Undergraduate Leadership Award Recipient. She also received a poster award from Colgate.

“Jaquesta receiving the NSF Graduate Fellowship is a great accomplishment that adds to her long list of awards,” said Andre Clayborne, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, who is also Adams’ mentor.  “It speaks to how much Howard University students in chemistry, and other STEM fields, can achieve if they are dedicated not only in the classroom, but also in research. As an African-American woman, she serves as an outstanding model for future generations of women scientists that want to attend HBCUs.”

In February, Adams was chosen as one of the four members of Howard University’s Honda Campus All Stars Challenge traveling team. The team traveled to Morgan State University to participate in the National Qualifying Tournament, and won first place, securing us a place in the national competition. However, due to COVID-19, the national competition was cancelled.


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 70 Fulbright Scholars. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

Media Contact: Misha Cornelius,