Scholarship fund honors slain UC Davis researcher

Sharon Gray
Sharon Gray Sacramento

A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Sharon Gray, the 30-year-old UC Davis researcher killed Tuesday in Ethiopia.

A GoFundMe page,, in Gray’s name was created by her husband, Cody Markelz. Thomas Cafcas, a friend of Markelz, said in an email that the scholarship fund will be dedicated to supporting women in science.

As of early Friday evening, more than $21,000 had been donated toward the $200,000 goal.

Gray, who worked in UC Davis’ plant biology department, died while riding in a vehicle that was stoned by protesters on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. She was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research, according to the university.

Gray was traveling with Siobhan Brady, an associate professor of plant biology at UC Davis and head of the department’s Brady Lab, where Gray worked.

Brady said in a statement Thursday that Gray had worked in her lab the past three years, focusing on understanding plants and their response to climate change. Gray’s research focused on the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on food crops such as soybeans and tomatoes.

Brady sad the lab had recently started a project spearheaded by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, and the trip to Ethiopia was to attend a kickoff meeting with the group.

Gray is the first foreigner killed in the massive anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of hundreds of protesters since November 2015. At least 55 were killed in a stampede last weekend when police tried to disrupt an anti-government protest.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy