Alpha Association Grad Scholarship

Marize Rizkalla is receiving a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences. She will continue her academic studies at UC Berkeley, pursuing a Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases and Immunity. Through her research as a doctoral student, Marize plans to continue incorporating a multidisciplinary approach, as her program at UCI has done, to address health disparities in infectious diseases that are leading causes of death globally, and which primarily burden developing countries and people struggling with poverty. Marize is off to a great start, having received the Undergraduate First Place award in Medicine and Public Health at the 2021 Virtual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences for her e-poster on “Multidrug Resistant and Virulent Environmental [E. Coli Sequence Type] 38.” This was after being recognized as a Junior for her e-poster in the Microbiology category at the 2020 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists. Marize credits the Minority Sciences Program at UCI for allowing her to access biomedical research and opportunities to pursue her love for science.

Physiology and Biophysics Professor Medha Pathak stated he has “been impressed by her passion for science, her outstanding work ethic and integrity, as well as her ability to work in a team” and noted the number of grants, scholarships, and awards she has received for her research.

In addition to her research endeavors, Marize has mentored other students in the MSP program, training them on bioinformatics and wet-lab techniques, teaching them Python and Bash, and guiding them through their own award-winning poster submissions.

Phi Beta Kappa Alumni in Southern California (Alpha Association), founded in 1918, is an organization for Phi Betes living in the greater Los Angeles area. It currently has approximately 1,000 active members in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.

Alpha Association funds and administers a scholarship program, called the Graduate Study Award, for initiates of Southern California Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Under this program, a cash award is made to one student from each Phi Beta Kappa chapter for use in the first year of graduate school, which must be in the same year following his or her receipt of the baccalaureate degree.

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Each chapter is asked to select one student based on merit and need. The recipient will receive the cash award based on proof of registration in graduate school in the same year as graduation. There is no geographic limitation for the graduate school attended by the student. The Graduate Study Award is in part a recognition of the need to encourage students to attend graduate studies in the humanities, arts, and sciences. There are no specific limitations placed upon the types of graduate schools for which the recipients receive awards; however, the Association hopes that the Chapters will include this consideration in their deliberations. The procedures to be used in making the selections are left to the local Chapters.

Since membership in Phi Beta Kappa evidences the highest level of scholarship, the recipients of these awards will have achieved academic merit. The Association’s intent, however, is that the Chapters select awardees who are not only outstanding academically, but also in substantial need of financial support.

For more information, you may reach our Phi Beta Kappa Coordinator Brenda Fisher by email at or phone at (949) 824-9882.


Other Opportunities

PBK Ambassador

PBK Ambassador

Interested in getting more involved with Phi Beta Kappa as a UCI student? Click below to learn more about this opportunity!

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As PBK Ambassador you will have opportunities to:

  • Interview and compose feature articles on fellow Phi Beta Kappa members and their research.
  • Help the team strategize to improve outreach efforts.
  • Give PBK students a voice in current events and important issues happening in our community!

For more information, you may reach our Phi Beta Kappa Coordinator Brenda Fisher by email at or phone at (949) 824-9882.

Keeping Up with our Members

Dylan Green

Running for city council as a 24-year-old UCI PhD student

Listen to PBK Mu Chapter member (2018) Dylan Green's thoughts on running for political office and what he learned in his most recent campaign during the pandemic as a candidate for Irvine City Council.

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It takes gumption to run for political office — especially when you’re just 24 years old. But that’s exactly what UCI PhD student Dylan Green did last year when he registered his candidacy for Irvine City Council and then took on the challenge of campaigning during the pandemic.

Green earned his bachelor's degree at UCI and is now studying the origin of the universe in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, using machine learning on images to filter out pixels corrupted by cosmic rays. In this episode of the UCI Podcast, he discusses what he learned about running for office and why he thinks more scientists and young people should get involved in politics.

Description taken from UCI Podcast Soundcloud description. To read a transcript of the podcast, check out this article by UCI News.