Neuroscience grad student presented pair of prestigious awards

Apr 22, 2021

Chloe Erikson, a graduate student in Washington State University’s Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, was recently awarded the Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award and the President’s Award for Leadership.

The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award is given to an outstanding graduate student at WSU with demonstrated leadership components in their research, training or service contributions. Recipients of the President’s Award for Leadership demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the university and the community. 

“Many of my leadership and service opportunities have enabled me to work with a wonderful, diverse set of individuals and have been some of my favorite memories made in grad school thus far, so I feel extremely lucky to have been noticed and congratulated for doing the things I love,” Erikson said. “I owe a big thanks in obtaining these awards to my mentors and nominators, Dr. David Rossi, Dr. Jim Peters and Dr. Brendan Walker, who have always accepted and pushed me to continue and apply my leadership skills both in and outside the classroom and laboratory.” 

Erikson’s doctoral research focuses on alcohol use disorders and the role a specific region of the brain – the cerebellum – plays. 

In addition to being committed to her studies and research, Erikson has been a teaching assistant for four undergraduate courses, and she oversees two undergraduates in her laboratory. She also serves as president of the College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association and as a member of the Status of Women Commission at WSU.

As president of the graduate club, she has prioritized promoting an inclusive and welcoming environment for graduate students in the college and helped to raise money for the Whitman County Fire Relief Fund and the Palouse Discovery Science Center. The group also supported the Community Action Center with non-perishable donations.

As a member of the mental health subcommittee of the Status of Women Commission, Erikson was tasked with creating a database of mental health services available at WSU and presenting on issues related to mental health concerning WSU students, staff, and faculty to WSU President Kirk Schulz. 

She expects to graduate in the fall of 2022 and hopes to become a professor of neuroscience at a four-year university.

“I aim to seek out previously overlooked circuits involved in alcohol use disorders that will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the brain, human behavior and addiction,” she said. “This goal further highlights my interest in science communication, teaching, and service as I hope to eventually continue to educate incoming students about science at the introductory and graduate level.”