Kristen Hanson Memorial Scholarship

June 8, 2023

Gianna Colombo has been selected by the Department of Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology (MCDB) as the 2022-2023 Kristen Hanson Memorial Scholarship recipient. Congratulations, Gianna!

This award is made possible by the generosity of donors to the Division of Life Sciences.

When MCDB graduate Kristen Hanson passed away in 2012, her friends Courtney Cochran, Sarah Wagman Ellenbogen and Jennifer Cohen Bogan raised $25,000 to dedicate a bench at the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden in her honor.

That experience inspired further philanthropy, and the group then raised $100,000 to endow the Kristen Hanson Memorial Scholarship, which further extended Hanson’s legacy by awarding a scholarship to a Life Sciences student each year, chosen by a committee of faculty and donors. This award honors an undergraduate who exemplifies the positive traits that Kristen embodied, which include not only academic accomplishment and a passion for science, but also well-rounded interests, leadership, originality and commitment to engage with the world.

Gianna Colombo exemplifies the well-rounded and community-minded student that the Kristen Hanson award seeks to recognize. Gianna is a senior majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and minoring in Biomedical Research. She studies hematopoietic stem cell development in Professor Hanna Mikkola’s lab. She plays oboe with the UCLA Philharmonia, Wind Ensemble, and various chamber music groups. She volunteers to teach science, math, reading and music theory to middle school students, and enjoys painting and drawing. After she graduates, Gianna will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology.

To donate to the Kristen Hanson Memorial Scholarship, please visit this link:

Previous Kristen Hanson Memorial Scholarship recipients:
Avril Rincon
Zoe Ge
Daniela Wong
Laila Sathe
Pagé Goddard
Esmeralda Isabel Villavicencio González