The award that provides unrestricted funds to "talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." The awards are not given for past accomplishment, but rather are considered to be an investment in a person's potential, with the hope that recipients will use the money in a way that will benefit human society.
Sanford, 36, is currently the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, where she has been on the faculty since 2003. She credits her graduate studies at Caltech for helping jumpstart her career in chemistry.
"The opportunity to work with a world-class group of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty on problems at the cutting edge of science was incredibly exciting, scientifically," says Sanford.