Ian Pepper Scholars

The Dr. Ian Pepper Scholarship supports four exemplary Environmental Science majors in financial need.

Pepper is a highly respected Department of Environmental Science Regents Professor and environmental microbiologist invested in supporting the next generation of scientists at the University of Arizona.

Meet Ian Pepper...

Ian Pepper remembers being a young student in 1970, arriving in the United States from England with $50 in his pocket.  

He hopped on a Greyhound Bus to The Ohio State University to start his graduate work in soil microbiology.

However, he discovered his paid fellowship would not start for another few weeks. Thankfully, the department head pulled out an old tin cash box and gave him a loan.  

Ian Pepper - 1970s.jpg

A young Dr. Ian Pepper in the 1970s
Ian Pepper building his own home from scratch, shortly after moving to Tucson in the 1970s.

Now, after over 40 years at the University of Arizona and a highly respected leader in environmental microbiology both locally and internationally, Pepper remembers what a difference both the paid fellowship and the loan made starting off as a young scientist.  

As the Director of the National Science Foundation Water and Environmental Technology (WEST) Center and a professor across several departments, Pepper wants to give something back. 

Gifts to Support Young Scientists

Pepper and his wife Barbara have included students from the Department of Environmental Science in their family’s estate plan. They plan on leaving a generous legacy gift to offer continued aid, but also wanted to make an immediate impact. 

“It’s always been about the students, watching them grow and mature.” says Pepper. “It’s gratifying.” 

And so, since 2018, the Dr. Ian Pepper Scholarship supports two exemplary undergraduate students each year pursuing an environmental science major in need of financial aid.  

This way, Pepper not only financially supports these students, but can get to know them, offering advice and tips to young, ambitious environmental scientists. 

Contribute to the Ian Pepper Fund

Meet Pepper Scholars

Illiana Samorano

Headshot of Illiana Samorano

As a hard-working sophomore in Environmental Science, Illiana is joining Dr. Ramírez-Androetta's lab as an Earth Grant and Ian Pepper Scholarship recipient.


Jo Mikronis

Headshot of Jo Mikronis

Jo is a junior in Environmental Science, who aspires to combine her passion for sustainability with culinary arts after she graduates.

Dr. Ian Pepper Scholar

A senior with his sights set on law school, Sam likes being an environmental science major because he has choices on how he can impact the discipline.

Dr. Ian Pepper Scholar

Cassidy wants to impact the field of environmental science, as a senior this semester, she will apply her skills in a new internship focused on water conservation.

Dr. Ian Pepper Scholar

A senior majoring in environmental science, Nyah is on track to become an environmental project manager.

Suvi Birch - Dr. Ian Pepper Scholar

A sophomore from Texas, Suvi wants to apply environmental science research outside of the laboratory.


Ian Pepper Scholarship Recipients


  • Madison Gerdes
  • Emmalyn Larson
  • Jo Mikronis
  • Illiana Samorano     


  • Kielah Dyer
  • Madison Gerdes
  • Carley McDermott
  • Brenai Smith Shires 


  • Cassidy Ratzan
  • Sam Ziegler
  • Suvi Birch
  • Nyah Torres


  • Alexandre Molteni
  • Madison Morris


  • Michelle Escobar
  • Chelsea Mendoza


  • Samantha Fornoff
  • Samantha Yazzie