Temple University

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Applications reopen Feb 2023!

Scholars

2020 MARC Scholars

Hi Everyone, my name is Guercie Guerrier. I attended Norwich Free Academy in my hometown in Norwich, Connecticut. I am a Biology major (CST), minoring in Sociology of Health (CLA). Being a MARC Scholar has allowed me to understand that being a black female scientist is important and needed. In addition to the financial support, I have grown in my identity, been challenged intellectually, and had a wonderful experience. During my time in the MARC Program, I have been in Dr. Xavier Graña-Amat’s lab at the Fels Cancer Institute studying prostate cancer and the trimeric protein complex B55A. Currently, I am at the Center for Asian Health at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine studying health disparities. This summer I am a Health Disparities Research Innovation (HDRI) Trainee. I am working on four different projects. I am writing two manuscripts, one for liver cancer and colorectal cancer screening in the Vietnamese community. In the community, I am collecting data for an Alzheimer's Disease/Colorectal Cancer study and working at a community outreach workshop to educate the Asian and Black Philadelphian community members about colorectal cancer. I have also attended the 2020 ABRCMS Conference virtually and the American Public Health Association Annual Conference which was held in Denver, Colorado. I have presented at the 2020 and 2021 MARC Mini-Symposium and Temple University’s 2021 and 2022 Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity, in addition to the 2021 HDRI Summer Symposium. I presented at the 2021 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Conference and was awarded the Best Presentation Award in the category of Public Health. In the future, I would like to pursue my degree as a Physician-Scientist (MD/Ph.D.). This degree will allow me to study medicine and pursue clinical/translational research that will impact my future patients. I am passionate about public health. After I graduate from Temple University, I attend to work in a research lab through the NIH PREP program for a few years so I can explore health disparities that plague underserved communities. Afterward, I intend to apply to Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) program. Ultimately, I want to be able to mentor underrepresented students who come from similar beginnings, therefore contributing to the diversification of science and medicine. In my free time, I love to bike around the city and find green areas to read or relax. I also enjoy weightlifting; staying active has been a tool that helps boost my mental health. In addition, I enjoy watching cooking shows and trying to emulate different recipes in the kitchen. Because of my love for food, I volunteer at MANNA which is a soup kitchen where I cook for Philadelphia and South Jersey residents who have medical diseases.
My name is Adaeze Ahaghotu-Radway and I am a senior at Temple University, pursuing a degree in bioengineering on the medical device pathway. I was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended James H. Blake High school in Silver Spring, MD. I have always aspired to make a huge impact in the world of medicine. One issue that has always struck me the most is the wide range of health concerns that deserve more attention. I chose engineering because I am an innovator and I enjoy using my creativity and knowledge to solve problems. Combining this with my passion for medicine and biology fueled my interest in bioengineering. I am beyond grateful for the MARC program because it has changed my life for the better in multiple ways. This program has given me several mentors who provide personal, professional, and academic guidance. As a MARC scholar, we participate in workshops, discussions, and other informational sessions that adequately prepare us for a future in the biomedical field on the academic and industrial level. We also are given access to conferences like ABRCMS and the NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair. Aside from those, I have also attended NSBE Conventions, NSBE Regional Leadership Conferences, and the Orthoapedic RORS Annual Meeting. In addition to personal and professional development, MARC provides a monthly stipend and partial tuition remission. Being a MARC scholar has given me research experience and made me a better applicant for other research programs and graduate programs. So far I have been provided the opportunity to work in two different research labs because I had no experience prior to MARC. I began the summer and school year in the Tissue Imaging and Spectroscopy Lab in Temple University’s Bioengineering department under Dr. Nancy Pleshko. There, I studied femoral neck samples using spectroscopic methods in order to analyze the parameters of bone material. The overall goal was to determine which factors make people more susceptible to bone fractures. During the next summer I was accepted into the LSAMP REU program at Cornell University. I was placed into the Lewis Lab in the Bioengineering department where Karl Lewis is my PI. I have been studying osteocytes in bones and assessing their response to mechanical loading. My main role is performing data analysis by transforming data into the frequency space and recording my observations. I have not had the opportunity to formally present my research yet, but I will by the end of the summer. I also have done my best to get involved with the campus community aside from my academics. I have been a member of a few student organizations at Temple including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Student Organization of Caribbean Awareness, and Uzuri Dance Company. Dancing and singing has always been one of my favorite hobbies, which is why I joined a dance team to stay active. When I want to relax after a stressful day I really like to have alone time to lay down and watch Netflix. One of my greatest accomplishments is becoming a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated of the Delta Mu Chapter at Temple University. I look forward to a lifelong commitment of service through this organization. After completing my undergraduate degree, I plan to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering. In the future, my ultimate goal is to be the CEO of my own biomedical company. As an African American woman in society today, I have made it my personal mission to succeed against the odds that have not been in the favor of others who look like me. I believe my passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and optimism will allow me to achieve everything I desire. I am thankful for the experience and resources that I’ve gained from this program and proud to be a MARC scholar.
Gaby Muñoz Sánchez is a senior chemistry major, French minor, and undergraduate researcher at Temple University. They transferred from the University of Puerto Rico and are currently working with Dr. Zdilla in the Department of Chemistry at Temple. Dr. Zdilla’s lab specializes in green catalysis, energetic materials, and solid electrolytes. In Gaby’s previous project, they refined X-ray powder patterns of catalysts developed for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In their current projects, they often use X-ray crystallography to elucidate the crystal structures of organic compounds and metal complexes. These structures are used to test a novel experimental method of partial charge analysis. They have presented their work at the ABRCMS conference, Temple’s Symposium for Undergraduate Research, and will be presenting at the ACS conference in Spring 2022. Gaby is passionate about green chemistry and loves to learn new ways to use their knowledge in chemistry to better the environment. After graduation, they will be attending a PhD program in chemistry in Fall 2022. They aspire to work in a national lab in the future. When they are not in the lab, they can be found indulging in many non-scientific passions such as music and Star Wars.
Hi everyone! My name is Areebah Rahman (she/her/hers) and I’m from Downingtown, PA. I am currently a senior at Temple University studying Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience (Class of 2022) with a minor in Public Health. My interest in the sciences stemmed from my brother’s immune system fluctuations resulting in severe psoriasis. Although becoming a medical doctor was not on my radar, I knew I wanted to be involved in the sciences with goals related to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of human and neurodegenerative diseases, like my brother’s. Based upon the anecdotes my brother would tell after his appointments, I would spend hours on PubMed investigating new diseases, such as ataxia, Lewy body disease, and spinal muscular atrophy. After some research on future careers and conversations with professors, I discovered the major of neuroscience and I felt as if someone turned the light bulb on! The neuroscience program offered the academic rigor and connections to human disease that I had been drawn to for so long. My interests in public health stemmed from being part of the Temple and North Philadelphia community and contributing to positive change for people around me. Prior to the MARC program, I spent two semesters with the Center for Asian Health (CAH), Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University under Dr. Grace X. Ma and Dr. Lin Zhu where I spent time examining the link between metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer for adults under the age of 50. I also analyzed how the COVID-19 related racial prejudice and racial discrimination affect COVID-19 transmission, prevention, and access to care. During my time at CAH, I was able to present an abstract at Synergistic Partnership for Enhancing Equity in Cancer Health (SPEECH) conference in May 2020 titled, Smoking is a Potential Mediator in the Association Between Metabolic Syndrome and Colorectal Cancer for Adults under the Age of 50. I was able to present similar data at Temple University Symposium for Undergraduate Research & Creativity. As my time at CAH came to an end, I was lucky enough to be offered the Center for Asian Health Trainee Scholarship to recognize my work and participation in cancer and chronic illness health disparities research for the summer 2020. After joining the MARC program, I was able to be placed in the laboratory of Dr. T. Dianne Langford within the Department of Neural Sciences at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Under her and postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Alvaro Garcia, our project focused on blocking metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma. I am studying lipid metabolism of astrocytes in cancer-like conditions. We hypothesize that the exposure of human astrocytes to low glucose and hypoxia (cancer-like conditions) will disrupt normal metabolism, leading to the development of cancer characteristics. During my time here, I was able to assist in the experiment for another two abstract presentations at the SPEECH conference in May 2021 titled, Blocking metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma and Post-translational modifications of PINCH contribute to chemotherapeutic resistance GBM. We currently have these two manuscripts in preparation. I presented our project, “Blocking Metabolic Reprogramming in Glioblastoma,” at Temple University College of Science & Technology Undergraduate Research Symposium in November 2021 and at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) also in November 2021. I was able to win a Best Presentation Award at ABRCMS! In Fall of 2022, I will be matriculating into the NIH-Brown Graduate Program Partnership. In this program, I will spend one year doing classes and rotations at Brown University, perform my thesis research at the NIH, and then receive my doctoral degree from Brown University. My time under Dr. Langford’s mentorship was a preview into my future career goals. I realized the depth of my commitment to advance the treatment of human diseases, such as GBM, through biomedical academic research. My time spent as an undergraduate researcher under the mentorship of strong academic mentors, who identify as female, made me realize that I can serve as a role model for people that look like me and may experience some of the same fears and uncertainty that I once felt. These life lessons have strengthened my effectiveness in my role as an orientation leader for incoming Temple students, a mentor for low-income housing students through the DREAM program, an academic tutor, a co-president for Leadership, Education, and Development in Science (LEADS) that provides North Philadelphia middle school students the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific experiments from Temple University students, and as Senior Science Editor of Grey Matters Journal. I hope to become a biomedical research professor at an academic institution, where I can be a mentor that welcomes and encourages students of underrepresented backgrounds to pursue their interests in science all while solving questions posed by neurodegenerative diseases. I will help them realize that although science is difficult, there will always be people to support them, like myself. Being chosen as a MARC Scholar is something I am incredibly thankful for. I was able to find a caring community who understand what it is like to be an underrepresented minority in the biomedical sciences. The personal and professional growth from this program is something I would not be able to receive anywhere else. They helped me formulate my personal statement and helped me stay on deadlines for graduate applications. They also helped me realize my true potential as a scientist. If you would like to be a part of the biomedical science or public health field and you have just a slight inkling to apply for the MARC program, please do! I almost didn’t, but I am so glad I did 🙂 If you have any questions about anything I said or the MARC program in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at areebah.rahman@temple.edu
My name is Aliyia St. John • Hometown o St. Thomas, USVI • High school attended o Antilles School • Current major and reason for selecting that major o Bioengineering. I was intrigued that I can blend my interest in healthcare and complex thinking within my major. • Gains from being a MARC scholar in addition to financial support: o Besides financial liberation, being a MARC Scholar has opened many opportunities within STEM that I was unaware of. You will learn how to maneuver successful through the field. A Scholar also becomes fluent in skills such as networking, team building, strategic communication, and interpreting science to name a few. • Lab/Research group placements since joining MARC; Lewis Katz School of Medicine; Cornell Bioengineering Dept. etc.). o Dr. Michel Lemay and Dr. Andrew Spence; Temple Engineering Department o Summer Placement: Dr. Ahyeon Koh, Binghamton University Biomedical Engineering Department • Brief description of research project(s), current and past. o My project at school focus on using the Deep Lab Cut to analyze the movement within rats. o My summer research at Binghamton was about creating a lateral flow assay device to quantify the level of cortisol (measured with cysteamine) produced at various times throughout the day. • Professional conference attendance and research presentations to date. o ABCRM November 2020 o As culmination of my summer research experience at Binghamton University, I will have presented my research project in a poster seminar. • Future career objectives o Like every average student when asked “what do you want to become?”, their reply is “I am unsure”; this too is my response. Coming into the MARC Program, I naive of all the opportunities and awards given to a female of color within STEM. The program mission is to shed light on careers within research and though it may get overwhelming at times, I am able to decipher the best path to obtain my goal through conversation with MARC alumnus and mentors. Though I am still unable to articulate a clear vision to you, I am still learning daily. • Involvement/engagement with the community outside of school o I am a Resident Assistant (RA) here at Temple. • Things you do for relaxation o Sightseeing through Philadelphia o Attending as many sport events as possible. Ps: Temple sporting events are free to students with your OwlCard. o Resting my eyes and body • Words of wisdom for potential MARC scholars and potential future grad school research mentors and PIs o This is a prestigious program that aim to not only get you familiar with STEM, but you will acquire at great portion of your identity through activities that are put together by the MARC team.
My name is Shakirah Cooper and I am a senior Computer Science major here at Temple University (TU). Prior to my Computer Science interest, I developed early passions for classical music. I fortunately began receiving violin lessons at 8 years old in my neighborhood elementary school. While lessons were few and far between, due to the school’s inability to finance music instructors, I stayed determined and passionate, and continued to practice in my free time at home. I then attended the Philadelphia Creative and Performing Arts High School where I began getting a more professional, serious experience with music. I then joined the All City Orchestra twice where our orchestra has had the privilege to do a side-by-side with the Philadelphia Orchestra and perform on the Kimmel Center’s Stage. While my love for music is still very strong, I soon found a new love for the field I study today! Interest in Computer Science began as a simple suggestion. Having acknowledged my success in troubleshooting one of our school’s computers, our tech support faculty member recommended I major in Computer Science. Considering this, I did some research only to discover Computer Science as an empowering, versatile tool. After my acceptance into the NIH-funded MARC Scholars program, I began doing research with Dr. Slobodan Vucetic, a CIS Professor at TU, working on interpreting radiology reports using machine learning. This is where my Computer Science intellect began to become more specialized regarding Artificial Intelligence and Biomedical Science. I later went on to do research with Dr. Keith Cook, the BME department head at CMU, working on predicting clinical test results where I received more hands-on experience working with a binary classification model. In Fall 2022, I will be starting my master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. I am so thankful for the MARC family as I have trouble imagining how I would have been successful without them. Especially in these times of the pandemic, my MARC PIs are a blessing and I am eternally grateful for the MARC program.

2021 MARC SCHOLARS

I am Nylani Powell. I grew up in York, Pennsylvania, where I went to Dallastown High School. Once I graduated, I found my home at Temple University in the Health Professions major with a Spanish minor. My interest in the medical field stems from my mother, who is a registered nurse. From there, my aspirations of helping others blossomed. The MARC program has made an immense impact on my life thus far. Besides financial support, this program has helped to broaden my way of thinking both personally and professionally. Also, I have entered a network of kindhearted people whom I can turn to if needed. As a MARC scholar, I am working with Drs. Gretchen Snethen and Bryan McCormick in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University. Some projects I am involved with are Parenting Through Leisure (PTL), Enriching Environments, and Cities Changing Diabetes. PTL is a project aimed at creating an intervention that will enhance parenting outcomes for people with serious mental illnesses. Next, the Enriching Environments project targets applications to help gain community inclusion for people with serious mental illnesses or disabilities. Lastly, the Cities Changing Diabetes project aims to create an intervention to reduce the impact of diabetes among people living with disabilities with the help of the mainstream community and providers. In the future, I plan to become a pediatrician at a children’s hospital. After I graduate, I intend to pursue my education at an MD/Ph.D. program. Outside of school, I enjoy babysitting children, frequenting cafés, and running at the park. I enjoy reading, watching Netflix, and taking a self-care day for relaxation. I am overwhelmed with joy when I think about my journey with the MARC program. I hope that others can experience similar feelings.
I am Magdalena Gareca. I am from Allentown, Pennsylvania and went to Parkland High School. I’ve always had a forever interest in science, but I first discovered the importance of public health when I created a documentary on the history of medical ethics for a class assignment. After learning about the cruel studies and mistreatment of human participants in the name of science, I decided to keep social justice at the forefront of my scientific career. Luckily, public health is the perfect field for these two topics to intersect and I cannot wait to see my scientific research better the lives of the communities around me! When I applied for the MARC scholar program, I never could have imagined how much more than a research opportunity it truly is! In only a few short months, MARC has provided me thorough professional and personal development in regards to becoming a well rounded, curious, and resilient scientist. It has given me the confidence to ask questions, voice my thoughts, and trust that I can handle any obstacle that comes my way. I have completed research in the Temple Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health- Behavioral and Cancer Epidemiology Research Program. PI: Dr . Resa Jones This summer, Dr. Jones and I worked on a grant founded by the Water Foundation in collaboration with the BuxMont Coalition for Safer Water, a local organization. I focused on the research question “What are the perceived impacts of PFAS-contaminated water on financial, psychosocial, and health among community residents of Bucks and Montgomery Counties?” and over the past months, I have created qualitative codes and conducted the qualitative data analysis of the focus group transcripts (n=6) through DEDOOSE software. Looking towards the future, I hope to get a graduate degree in biomedical ethics and use it to conduct safe and informative research on addiction and those with substance use disorders. Another career goal I have is to provide medical aid and disaster relief abroad, perhaps as an Epidemiologist or Infection, Prevention, and Control (IPC) manager through Doctors Without Borders. When I’m not in the lab, I love to go hiking and swimming outside! I also love music festivals, yoga, and trying to dance bachata---poorly.
I am Alexander Armstead. Since joining Dr. Soboloff's lab in August 2020, I have played a role in a project revolving around SOCE, leading to metabolic shifts towards biosynthesis in invasive melanoma cells. I plan to continue working on this project, which is very close to being publication ready, and start working on a new project based on the current findings. Under the guidance of Dr. Soboloff and working closely with my graduate student mentor, I propose to define the differences in metabolism between invasive and non-invasive cells by labeling them with C13-glucose and identifying which pathways are changed through mass spectrometry. The contribution of glycosylation to invasiveness will be tracked using genetic and pharmacological manipulations of OGT, the enzyme that drives this change. We are particularly interested in well-known glycosylated proteins known to serve as oncogenes such as Snai1, Snai2, YAP, but recognize that this experiment may reveal new targets, with important implications to the design of therapeutic interventions for the treatment of melanoma. My personal goals during this time are to continue to expand my knowledge of calcium signaling, learn new lab techniques, and gain more autonomy (as I'm already well-versed with my current lab). My professional goal for the next year is to generate substantial concrete data that will improve the current manuscript and to contribute to an additional publication-worthy manuscript, hopefully with a greater personal contribution.
I am Naomi Ross. I am from Aurora, Colorado and went to Grandview High School. I came to Temple in the fall of 2019 to join the women’s fencing team and study biophysics. I chose biophysics simply because it sounded interesting and the classes I would have all seemed like topics I would enjoy taking. Being a MARC scholar has given me a strong path towards graduate school and earning a PhD in the future. MARC is a unique program that provides an opportunity to do long term undergraduate research as well as prepare students for a PhD. There are very few programs that could provide these opportunities as well as support throughout my academic career and be willing to invest the time and effort into my education. I am researching under Dr. Eric Borguet in the chemistry department at Temple University. Part of his work focuses on non-linear spectroscopy using techniques such as sum-frequency generation. Currently I have been assisting graduate students in their research as well as being introduced to different methods used in non-linear spectroscopy in order to prepare for completing a research project of my own in the future. I am also a Division 1 athlete on Temple’s women’s fencing team. Fencing is a large part of my time here at Temple and the team of people within MARC have been very supportive with me dividing my time between classes, practice, and research
I am Edmee Brown-Egue a Ghanian-American from Washington, DC, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson HS. I am a bioengineering major with a concentration in engineering devices. My reason for selecting this major was based on my interest in medicine and using creative and innovative thinking to solve problems. The MARC program has extended opportunities for me not only to be involved in a lab but to gain professional as well as personal development. The research I am currently working on is with Dr. Christopher K. Thompson in the spinal neuromotor laboratory. We are analyzing the temporal characteristics of neuron excitability by looking at the history-dependent changes in humans. My future career objectives include pursuing an MD/Ph.D. in bioengineering, then potentially working for a medical devices company. In my free time, I enough working out and going out with friends to get something to eat.
I am Rashad Reid.