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Hannah Woo
Hannah Woo

UT Civil and Environmental Engineering doctoral student Hannah Woo was recently honored as one of ninety students in the United States and Canada to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood.

Woo focuses on environmental issues while studying under Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology Terry Hazen.

Specifically, she utilizes the latest DNA sequencing technology to identify and investigate microbes with plant-degrading enzymes in the deep ocean. Those enzymes benefit biofuels research by helping break down the waste product—known as lignin—resulting from the manufacture of such fuels.

“This award is an amazing honor,” said Woo, who also holds a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship. “I feel very fortunate to be recognized for my accomplishments and potential this early in my scientific career.”

The PEO Sisterhood was founded January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College as a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women.

The awards were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university.

Recipients are chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society, with priority given to women who are well established in their programs, study, or research.


Élan Young (-865-974-8786,