Tojan Rahhal, a Ph.D. student in molecular pharmaceutics, is the recipient of the the 2015 Brewington award, which recognizes the top graduate student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Tojan Rahhal, a Ph.D. student in molecular pharmaceutics, is the recipient of the the 2015 Brewington award, which recognizes the top graduate student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Tojan Rahhal, a graduate student in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has been awarded the School’s Kathryne A. Brewington Graduate Student Research Award.

The Kathryne A. Brewington Graduate Student Research Award was created to honor the memory of Kathryne Brewington, who died in 1997 while pursuing her doctoral degree at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. In honor of Brewington’s commitment to public service and higher education, the award is given annually to the most outstanding doctoral student in the pharmaceutical sciences.

The purpose of the award is to facilitate the research of an exceptional doctoral student in the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences program. It consists of a plaque and a $1,500 research grant, which can be used to fund research, to travel to another research institution for the purpose of developing new research skills or to attend a national scientific meeting to present the results of the student’s dissertation research.

“It means a lot to me that the school of pharmacy has the Brewington award because it confirms that dedication to the community is just as important as doing good research,” Rahhal said. “I am honored to be selected and very appreciative of all my mentors who have supported me in pursuing service activities alongside my research.”

Rahhal is a fourth-year student in the Ph.D. program investigating the pulmonary delivery of novel nano- and microparticle biologics under the guidance of Joe DeSimone, Ph.D. She received her bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from North Carolina State University in 2012.

Rahhal is a leader for improving the representation and experiences of women and students from underrepresented minority groups in STEM fields. She played an important role in bringing the Women in Science group back to campus by serving on the executive committee, as co-chair and as chair. The mission of Women in Science is to encourage the continued success of women by empowering leaders, facilitating professional development and promoting gender equality in science.

Rahhal has also taken on a diversity initiative within the School by designing cross-cultural leadership development workshops to enable doctoral students to share experiences and engage in meaningful dialogue about cultural and other identity differences.

“I love that this award continues to be a big part of the School because it can serve as encouragement for students to pursue service activities such as outreach and volunteering while being active scientists,” Rahhal said.

The Kathryne Brewington Fund was established in 2011 with $20,000 in initial contributions to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Foundation. Brewington was a graduate of Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, who went on to study chemistry and chemical engineering at North Carolina State University on a scholarship. After working for a time at Allied Signal in Hopewell, Virginia, she enrolled at the School in pursuit of a Ph.D. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and an active volunteer with the Communiversity Youth Program at the Sonja H. Stone Black Cultural Center.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Brewington fund may send a check to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Office of Advancement at 194 Finley Golf Course Rd., Suite 106, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. Please specify that the gift is for the Kathryne Brewington Fund. Contact the Office of Advancement at 919-966-1929 with any questions.

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