In 2011, Kholud Dardir graduated from Rutgers with honors, earning a B.S. in chemistry. She worked as a chemist at two multinational corporations (Colgate-Palmolive and Pfizer Inc.) before earning an M.S. in material chemistry and a Ph.D. in biomaterial chemistry.

Dardir credits the department’s supportive faculty for guiding her studies and shaping her career path. They taught her that successful independent research requires collaboration – an insight that narrowed down available opportunities for her future. While at Rutgers, she attended both job fairs and seminars hosted by the department where she was able to connect with industry leaders.

Kholud Dardir"Chemistry is very interdisciplinary, and it is great that we can pick from very specific fields of how we would like to apply chemistry."

The STEM fields are still predominantly male. Awards like the McCoy Family Fellowship look to change that by addressing gender imbalance in the workforce. The award exposes female Ph.D. students in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology to the business side of chemistry. It hopes to prepare these women to become the next generation of innovators in science and industry, in fields that are emerging. Dardir was the 2016 recipient of the McCoy Family Fellowship for Women in Chemistry and Business, and the award initiated her curiosity in applying chemistry to business and the law.

The McCoy Family Fellowship was established through a generous gift by Sheri and Terence McCoy in 2011. Sheri is both a successful chemist and Rutgers alumna. In 2012, Forbes Magazine recognized her as the 39th most powerful woman in the world. 

Dardir attended events sponsored by the Rutgers University iJOBS Program where she learned about a licensing manager internship through the Office of Research Commercialization (part of the Rutgers Office of Research and Economic Development). And while the McCoy award allowed Dardir to focus on her research without the worry of funding, this internship brought her into the field of intellectual property. It’s interesting to note that Dardir currently works as a technology specialist at a law firm where she uses her chemistry experience to help research intellectual property cases.

Previous winners of the Fellowship include: Manasi Pethe, currently working as a computational protein engineer for Bayer Crop Science; Allison Faig, a recipe scientist at the Mars Retail Group; and Pingcheng Chu, who worked as a bioanalytical scientist in Frontage Laboratories.