Noela Botaka

2019 Fulbright Scholar

Noela Botaka

Noela Botaka

Noela Botaka has earned a Fulbright Research Award to study the modification of lipid groups in Belgium.

The U.S. Student Fulbright Program, a federally sponsored international, educational and cultural exchange, recognizes academic merit and leadership potential. The program promotes mutual understanding between U.S. residents and people in more than 155 countries worldwide. Fulbrights are among the most prestigious awards in higher education


As an African American woman navigating a field that lacks representation, I hope to encourage others to channel their work and talent and leave behind an irreplaceable, unforgettable legacy! No matter the odds, acknowledge them and then defy them.”

Collegiate experience

  • Areas of Study:

    • Graduated May, 2019, from the College of Arts & Sciences with a degree in biology
  • Additional Awards:

    • Martin Luther King (MLK) Scholar, Woodford R. Porter Scholar.

      2019 Outstanding Senior Student Award at the UofL’s Student Awards Ceremony for active engagement and leadership on campus.

Inspired By

Receiving the Fulbright Scholarship would not have been possible without the help and encouragement from Dr. Mark Running, Dr. Bethany Smith, and Dr. Charlie Leonard. Dr. Running is my favorite professor and current research mentor who has helped in shaping my understanding of research, finding my research mentor in Belgium, and pushing me to be confident in myself throughout the application process. Dr. Smith and Dr. Leonard manage applicants interested in Fulbright and other national and international scholarships. They have been a tremendous help in providing feedback and revisions of my app, holding a mock interview in preparation of my actual interview, and helping me to be a competitive applicant. I am truly thankful for the amount of time the three of them have invested in me throughout the application process and cannot thank them enough!

Hometown information

  • Hometown:

    Lexington, Kentucky

  • High school:

    Bryan Station High School (2015)

  • Parents:

    Bob and Elodie Botaka of Lexington, KY