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Lt. Paul Drotch Memorial Scholarship



The Drotch family established the Lt. Paul Drotch Memorial Scholarship for undergraduate Biology majors forty years ago in memory of Paul, a 1957 graduate of the UConn Bacteriology Department. It is a testament to this family's devotion to their lost loved one and its gratitude for UConn's contribution to their lives.

Paul attended UConn when there were several biological sciences departments, including Bacteriology, a discipline later combined into the Department Molecular and Cell Biology. Paul was a serious and confident student, but also knew how to balance this with his playful side. He graduated in 1957 and planned to further his education in a biology Masters degree program. At the time, the military draft was in effect, so he enlisted in the Marine Corps, joining its officer candidate school to make his military service more rewarding. He was admitted to flight school and trained as a fighter pilot, an exciting and still relatively new job in the military. While Paul was stationed in South Carolina, his wing was sent to California in winter 1959-60 for winter survival training. These were tense times in US relations with Cuba; by spring 1960, Fidel Castro was establishing close ties with the USSR and the US bolstered its forces at the Guantanamo naval base. Paul’s wing returned to South Carolina and was then sent to Guantanamo in May for training. Paul flew an A-4 jet, an aircraft designed to support ground forces by flying at only a few hundred feet or less. The hilly Cuban terrain was challenging. In late May, Paul’s aircraft was lost during a training exercise. The Lt. Paul Drotch Memorial Scholarship was created by the family in 1960 to recognize Paul’s accomplishments at UConn and UConn's role in his aspirations. Originally an award was made to a single student in Bacteriology, but the scholarship fund has grown, in part from generous contributions by Paul's brother Peter. Now the awards are made annually to several high achieving students in MCB, EEB, PNB or Biological Sciences.

Application process takes place each spring.

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