Jim Tranquada
Occidental alumni Anne Marie Crooke '19 and Adrienne Adams '17

Two recent Occidental College alumni have won prestigious national fellowships to pursue graduate studies in chemistry and American studies.

Anne Marie Crooke ’19 has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, awarded annually to candidates in the sciences and social sciences who are pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree. Crooke is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Harvard.

Adrienne Adams ’17 is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, which seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity. Adams is doctoral student in the USC American Studies and Ethnicity Department.

Crooke, a biochemistry major at Oxy who graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, is investigating the chemical transformations of microbial enzymes, seeking a basic understanding of how those processes work—research that potentially could “unlock a whole new part of chemistry that we don’t have access to at the moment.”

Arriving at Harvard “really contexualized how special my undergrad experience was,” Crooke says. “Oxy’s a special place. It shaped the way I think about science, and now I realize how well rounded my science education was.”

Crooke was one of 2,074 students offered an NSF Fellowship out of the more than 20,000 who applied. The fellowship provides a $34,000 living stipend and $12,000 per year for tuition for three years to individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Crooke is one of more than three dozen Oxy alumni who have received NSF fellowships.

Adams, a critical theory and social justice major at Oxy who graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, is focusing their research on how Black Trans Angelenos formed local and international information networks in the late 20th century, utilizing a mix of archival research, oral history, and geographic information systems.

Like Crooke, Adams credits their Oxy experience as a foundation for future success. “The connections that I formed with Oxy faculty, staff, and peers continue to enrich my life and education,” Adams says. “In my graduate school and Ford applications, I wrote extensively about the original research that I conducted under Prof. Heather Lukes during Oxy’s summer research program and for my senior comprehensive.” 

It’s not Adams’ first recognition for their work: they also were awarded an Imagining America's Publicly Active Graduate Education Fellowship and named a Humanities, Art, Science, Technology Alliance and Collaboratory Scholar.

Adams is one of only 70 doctoral students to receive a Ford Predoctoral Fellowship this year out of roughly 2,000 applicants.