Olivia Willis and Jacob Foster, senior neuroscience students pursuing a pre-medicine track at Washington State University in Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, are the 2021 recipients of the Peter A. Zornes Memorial Neuroscience Scholarship.

Awardees represent the values Peter Zornes espoused: academic integrity, strong support of original yet ethical research, community service, diversity of interests, and continuing personal evolution and growth.

Willis is also pursuing a second degree in psychology and minors in chemistry and French. She has a life-long interest in neuroscience research and medicine and is planning a career in emergency medicine or neurosurgery. She works in three research labs at WSU (Drs. David Marcus, Xianming Shi, and Maria Gartstein), looking at different areas of human psychology. Willis is also interested in supporting mental health and serves as the wellness specialist for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, as well as a volunteer for 7 Cups, an online support program. She is a mentor with the Team Mentoring Program at WSU and the Honors College. She has been a volunteer at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane and Pullman Regional Hospital, where she participated as a student researcher.

Foster is preparing for a career in psychiatry. A former college athlete (lacrosse), his interest in the brain was sparked by the illness of a family member and he transferred to WSU specifically to pursue neuroscience and psychology. He works in the research lab of Dr. Raymond Quock and studies whether hyperbaric oxygen treatment is effective in curbing opioid withdrawal symptoms. Foster has also been a volunteer at Pullman Regional Hospital’s emergency department and Gritman Medical Center’s Cancer Resource Center in Moscow. He is a volunteer for the nationwide Crisis Text Line, working with people who are experiencing emotional crises.

Peter Zornes was raised in Oakesdale, a small town in eastern Washington. His father (’71 B.S.) and mother (’74 B.A.) both graduated from WSU. Peter’s ultimate goal was to become a physician.

He graduated cum laude from WSU in 2003 with a degree in neuroscience and began applying to medical school. To increase his chances for acceptance, he took a position as a research associate in asthma and allergy at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he worked for 18 months. He later returned to Whitman County to begin a research position with a newly formed bio-technology firm, but he died three weeks prior to the start of that job at the age of 25.

During his time at WSU, Peter was involved with numerous activities ranging from playing music to participating in the karate club and intramural sports. At WSU, he played in Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, and Trumpet Ensemble, and was a member of the International Trumpet Guild.

The scholarships are funded in part by the annual Peter Zornes Memorial Golf Tournament, which is held every summer at the Colfax Golf Course and Country Club in Colfax, Washington. For more information or to donate to the scholarship, contact Director of Development Lynne Haley at 509-335-5021 or lhaley@vetmed.wsu.edu.


Give now the Peter A. Zornes Memorial Neuroscience Scholarship .