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At a Glance:’s Inaugural STEM Research NIL Award

Earlier this year, launched its inaugural STEM Research Award, our own twist on the NCAA’s 2019 NIL rule. You may be wondering, “What does an NCAA rule have to do with STEM researchers?” Well, a lot more than you’d think. “There are at least 10 US universities that bring in over $100 million in athletic revenue per year, so the NIL rule makes sense,” stated Dan Kagan, PhD, President and COO at “We started the STEM NIL Award in recognition of the fact that there are at least 20 US universities that generate over $1 billion in research revenue annually, but undergraduates and graduate STEM students often are not paid for their research.” While we are in full support of the compensation of collegiate athletes for their contributions to their universities, we also believe that student researchers deserve similar compensation for their talents. Thus, we launched the $50,000 STEM Research NIL Award in order to recognize undergraduate scientists for their contributions to research grant revenue.

We selected 10 students from a pool of over 100 applicants and awarded them each $5,000 for the use of their name, image 1or likeness (NIL). These students became ambassadors on their campus and in their labs and contributed content in the form of blog posts, podcasts and social media posts. Continue reading to get to know the award winners and hear how this experience impacted them:

Jared Oenick

  • University of North Georgia
  • Kanak Phage Lab

Through this program, I got to learn more about how helps facilitate collaboration efforts between biopharma labs and retailers of laboratory equipment and services.I was able to harness and grow my creativity skills when creating the Instagram reel and my professional skills when participating in the podcast and mentor meeting. After reading about the company and how fast it was growing (one of Fortune ‘s Most Innovative Companies for 2023), I definitely became more interested in the future of the company. It makes me proud to have been one of the inaugural recipients of this award from a ballooning company. I would love to aid in the future endeavors of the company.

Check out Jared’s content:

Grace Clark

  • University of Michigan
  • Kitzman Lab

One of the best parts of the NIL scholarship was when I was able to translate my research into an infographic for the general public. It was wonderful to dig into my work and parse out the most relevant parts to share in an understandable way. I am so grateful to for supporting my research and giving me an opportunity to share it.

Check out Grace’s content:

Wasila Sun

  • University of California Los Angeles
  • Eghbali Lab

Through this experience, I got to learn more about’s mission. Creating content as a ambassador was fun and rewarding, and I enjoyed getting to see comments and reactions to my post and reel! I felt like a part of the team. The content I created was both interesting, but also helped further the social media presence of I would highly recommend the program, and it was great meeting everyone.

Check out Wasila’s content:

Elizabeth Siebeneck

  • Duke University
  • Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies, Duke University Lemur Center

I really enjoyed this program because unlike other scholarships where you just win based on your previous accomplishments; this program allowed us to interact with other members of the research community and and create content! Throughout this program, I realized just how important the relationship between organizations, like, and students (the future of research) is… I am so honored to have been selected for this position, and I truly enjoyed creating the content, which even allowed myself to reflect on some of the research that I have done and what I am hoping to accomplish in the future! It is a great way to publish your own original content, learn from professionals at, and hear from other undergraduate researchers!

Check out Elizabeth’s content:

Tanishq Vaidya

  • University of California Davis
  • The Gomes Lab

This program helped me to better understand how diverse the research going on in the biopharma industry is. Meeting all my fellow award winners and learning of all the projects was a part of really helped me see all the fields people are working on! It was really fun to learn how a podcast worked and to learn how to be an effective communicator on that medium. I was glad to be able to share my passion for increased organ donorship with the community! I would thank for giving me this opportunity! The Ambassador Program was a lot more involved than other scholarships, which allowed me to get a lot more out of it than just the monetary benefits. I enjoyed making the connections and gaining the knowledge I got from this program. After learning about the noble motives for the company and seeing how it could be a game changer in the industry I was really motivated to go above and beyond for the organization.

Check out Tanishq’s content:

Jordan Janowski

  • New York University
  • Seeman Laboratory of Structural DNA Nanotechnology

Prior to this experience, I didn’t know research marketplaces were a thing. I also didn’t fully understand the differences between academia and industry and now have a better grasp on how they differ in terms of topics, facilities, etc. It was pretty inspiring to see how a research marketplace not only provides labs/companies with good connections but how the world comes together to advance science for the better of our society. I would absolutely recommend the ambassador program to a peer. I think it is important for our research to be appreciated especially given the amount of time we invest in it for not being paid. This was a really special opportunity, this is the first of many for other companies, and I’m grateful to have been a part of the first one.

Check out Jordan’s content:

Micaela Merrill

  • Truman University
  • GSU Developmental Neuropsychology Lab

Honestly, I think this scholarship is more meaningful than other ones I have received because it came with experiences and responsibilities that proved quite useful for my own professional development, as well as for the company itself, I hope. Overall, I would say my biggest takeaway is a broadened perspective of the science industry field in general. I learned more about the process of outsourcing research, which I believe will become more and more prevalent in biopharmaceutical research as the years go on. I look forward to staying involved in the future with this company and its progression in the scientific world. This program was so intellectually and professionally enriching, and I am so glad to have had the chance to learn more about your company and spread the word about your revolutionary model to my fellow junior scientists. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have been in this program, and I loved every part.

Check out Micaela’s content:

Michelle Wong

  • University of California Davis
  • MoshiriLab

Compared to other scholarship programs, the Ambassador Program was great. I’ve really enjoyed my experience and learned a lot from my talk with my mentor.

Check out Michelle’s content:

Albert Nguyen

  • University of California San Diego
  • Pantham Lab, San Diego Biomedical research Institute

Being selected as one of the recipients has been an absolute honor and a game-changer for my career in STEM. The financial support has allowed me to focus more on my research and learning, and I am grateful for the mentorship and opportunities provided by As a brand ambassador, I’ve had the privilege of sharing my journey and passion for scientific research, hoping to inspire others to pursue their dreams in this field. This experience has been a turning point in my life, and I’m excited to continue contributing to innovative scientific advancements.

Check out Albert’s content:

Abigail Johnson

  • Syracuse University
  • MacDonald Lab

My favorite thing about my experience as a recipient of the STEM Research NIL Award was that it was more than just a grant. I loved learning about everything is doing to advance research, as well as being able to contribute my own ideas to this knowledge base. By developing content for, I was able to explore topics that I had only touched upon in classes, and the projects I worked on pushed me out of my comfort zone and led me to discover new talents. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to work with this spring.

Check out Abigail’s content:

We are pleased to see the positive impact that this program has had on the lives and professional growth of these ten individuals. It is our duty to help mentor and support future scientific innovators and we hope to see many other companies follow suit in joining this effort. Learn more about the award winners here.