Immigrants from Ukraine, Latvia, Sweden and Trinidad are Among 8 Winners of CUNY Salk Medical Scholarships

May 25, 1999 | The University

A Ukrainian survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, a former professional ballerina, and a one-time wall plasterer in the Australian outback are among eight outstanding City University of New York students awarded Jonas E. Salk Scholarships to study medicine. Eight others were named honorary winners.

Mrs. Edith B. Everett, a member of the CUNY Board of Trustees and a long-time supporter of the program, and Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich presented the awards, medical diagnostic kits, and medical reference books to the winners in ceremonies May 25 at Hunter College. Cheryl Wills, health reporter for New York 1 News, was the guest speaker.

A native of Kiev in the Ukraine, Oksana Martsinkevich, 25, is a 1997 magna cum laude graduate of Hunter College whose resolve to become a physician was strengthened as a result of her experiences stemming from the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986.

Oksana, who lives in Brooklyn, watched people become ill from the radiation and was herself hospitalized several times. She saw many young people suffer with different types of cancer and wished that she could help them.

At Hunter, where her major was in biology, Oksana was inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society and the Sigma Xi Scientific Honorary Society. In 1995, she was awarded a two-year Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship.

Over the past two years, Oksana, who will attend the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, has worked as a senior research staff assistant to Dr. John F. Hunt at Columbia University in the field of molecular biology.

Lilly-Rose Paraskevas of Woodside, Queens, came to CUNY via the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet Company. In 1995, after a year with the company, she changed her plans, returned home and enrolled at Hunter College with the goal of following in her parents’ footsteps and becoming a physician.

On June 3rd, Lilly-Rose, 22, will graduate from Hunter, where she completed the Honors curriculum in biology with a minor in chemistry, and was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. She will attend Cornell University Medical College.

Eleven years ago, at the age of 19, Anneli C. Jonsson left her native Sweden to learn about the rest of the world.

As Anneli tells it, “after jostling with pigs, chickens and people while riding the rails in China, listening to midnight prayer calls in Jakarta, plastering walls in the Australian outback and sharing dried yak meat with the mountain people of Nepal, she landed in New York.

She enrolled at City College, and in 1997 graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. For the past two years she has worked for a Cambridge-based medical internet company.

Anneli will attend the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, where she will continue her research in immunotherapy and neuroendocrinology. The other immigrants among the winners are Kristina Poblaguey, 21, who was born in Latvia, and Michelene Rivas, 28, who is from Trinidad. Kristina lives in Brooklyn, Michelene in Sunnyside, Queens. Both studied at Hunter. Kristina will attend Cornell University Medical College. Michelene is headed for the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

The other winners, their colleges and the medical schools they will attend are Melissa B. Bleicher, 20 of Staten Island, Queens College, NYU School of Medicine; Patricia Ann Burns, 39, of Manhattan, City College, SUNY Stony Brook School ofMedicine; and Cori Salvit, 22, of Jamaica, Queens, Queens College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The students were chosen because of their brilliant academic records, the quality of their research projects, and their volunteer activities.

The scholarships are named for Dr. Jonas E. Salk, the discoverer of the polio vaccine, who graduated from City College in 1934. They carry a $1,000 a year stipend toward medical school tuition. When Dr. Salk was offered a ticker tape parade by New York City in 1955 in honor of his discovery, he asked that the money be used instead for scholarships. CUNY pre-med students who have received the scholarships have gone on to leadership positions in medical research and medical practice.

Bios of 1999 Salk Scholars

Melissa B. Bleicher, Staten Island, New York
Queens College

Melissa B. Bleicher’s aspiration to become a physician began when she was six-years old and her pregnant mother went into labor at a family picnic. Her mother was rushed to the hospital and she delivered Melissa’s brother, Mikey, who was ten weeks premature. When Mikey finally came home, Melissa made a conscious effort to emulate the physicians and nurses that she had seen at the hospital caring for her brother. She took deliberate care when she fed him, changed him and played with him, and as he reached the same milestones achieved by healthy full-term babies, Melissa felt a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment for helping him reach those goals.

Throughout her undergraduate career at Queens College, Melissa pursued her interests in biomedical research. She first engaged in apoptotic research at the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn. This was followed by a summer fellowship in 1997 at Rockefeller University where she was accepted into the highly competitive SURF Program. While in the program, Melissa completed the research project, “Trk Signaling and Apoptosis”. Melissa was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Karyn Kupcinet International Science School held at the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. There she studied under Dr. Ephraim Yavin and worked on a project,”The Effect of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Anoxic and Hypoglycemic Cell Death in OLN-93 Cells.” Melissa’s experiences as a volunteer at a local teaching hospital in the trauma center and at a pediatric orthopedic surgeon’s private practice and clinic provided her further insights into the world of medicine.

A summa cum laude graduate of Queens College, Melissa majored in psychology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Her other awards include the Queens College Scholar, President’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List. She was a Student Senator for the Academic Senate and a staff writer for the Scholar’s Sentinel and Kollot magazine. Melissa will attend New York University School of Medicine, where she plans to continue her apoptotic research and obtain her M.D. degree.

Anneli C. Jonsson, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The City College of New York

At nineteen Anneli C. Jonsson left her native Sweden to learn about the rest of the world. According to Anneli, “after jostling pigs, chickens and people on the third class rails in China, listening to midnight prayer calls in Jakarta, plastering walls in the Australian outback, and sharing dried yak meat with the mountain people of Nepal” she landed in New York, and “this is where her journey really began.” She enrolled in The City College of New York where she received a special insight into the dynamic force that created this country. Anneli states, “If there is an American dream (and I think that there is), it is alive and well at City College. What makes this true is the fact that City College’s professors believe it to be true and successfully convey this belief to their students, many of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or are immigrants.”

Anneli graduated summa cum laude from The City College in 1997 where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Other awards received included the 1996 Remansky Introductory Physics Prize, 1996 and 1997 Edmund Baermann Scholarships, and 1997 Professor W. Stratford Prize. During her undergraduate career, Anneli’s research project was “The Thymic Nurse Cell and its Neuroendocrine Properties”. Since graduating, Anneli has worked for a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based medical internet company. She will attend the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine where she will continue her research in immunotherapy and neuroendocrinology.

Lilly-Rose Paraskevas, Woodside, New York
Hunter College

Lilly-Rose Paraskevas was leaning toward the medical profession from a young age. Both of her parents are physicians, but it was her interest in and talent for ballet that originally dominated her career plans. She graduated from the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art where she majored in fine arts and simultaneously took ballet classes at the School of American Ballet. Upon graduation in 1994, she joined the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet Company as a professional ballerina. She found life as a ballerina confining and some of the demands unreasonable. After one year with the company, she changed her plans and returned home to attend Hunter College with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician.

Throughout her undergraduate studies, Lilly-Rose has excelled. She completed the Honors curriculum in biology with a minor in chemistry and is a member of Golden Key National Honor Society. Lilly-Rose is the recipient of the Eugene Lang Fellowship, the Presidential Fellowship, Athanaciadis Award, and Golden Key Honor Society Scholarship Award. As a participant of the Hunter College-Cornell University Medical College Linkage Program, Lilly-Rose has engaged in two major research endeavors. The first focused on defining the role of a novel class of growth factors, the neurotrophins, in regulating the development of the vertebrate heart. Her second project, “How Do Strong Hydrogen Bonds Affect the Acidities of Carbon Acids? An AB Initio Molecular Orbital Study” deals with the cooperative interaction between chains of hydrogen bonds between from two to ten formamide molecules. Her work has shown that the stabilization of the individual hydrogen bonds in long chains can be much greater than that between two molecules. Thus, the interaction between the central hydrogen bond in a chain of ten formamides is 2.5 times as string as that between two formamides.

After she becomes a physician, Lilly-Rose plans to work with children in a developing nation through the United Nations and participate in the “Doctors without Borders” organization. She will attend Cornell University Medical College.

Patricia Ann Burns, New York, New York
The City College of New York

Patricia Ann Burns began her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington at Seattle in 1979. She began her career at The City College of New York as a part-time student. Before enrolling on a full-time basis, Pat volunteered her services at the Neonatal ICU at St. Vincent’s Hospital, assisted in Lamaze classes at St. Luke’s, and worked at a homeless shelter and clinic for AIDS patients. Although her father is a physician, Pat’s decision to pursue a medical career was not made lightly.

At The City College of New York, where she will graduate summa cum laude in June and has been chosen as valedictorian, Pat’s research was “Profiles of the Monoamine Neurotransmitters in Mesial Temporal Lobe (MTLE) and Neocortical Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (NTLE), as determined by Microvoltammetric In Situ Studies”. Her work merited co-authorship on two abstracts presented at two international meetings in 1998, The Society for Neuroscience and The American Epilepsy Society. As a biology major and City College Research Scholar, she has attained a 4.00 GPA and is a member of the Caduceus Society, Golden Key Honor Society and Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. Pat was named the Golden Key Honor Society’s Outstanding Senior and awarded the 1998 Rita and Stanley Kaplan Scholarship for outstanding achievement in research, the Edmund Baermann Scholarship in 1998 for academic achievement in biology, the Professor Paul Margolin Award in 1998 for creativity in research, and the 1999 Mage Scholarship. During 1997-1998 she was named to the National Dean’s List. In addition to her research and academic achievements, Pat is an avid rollerblader, and enjoys skydiving and skiing.. She will attend SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine.

Oksana Martsinkevich, Brooklyn, New York
Hunter College

A 1997 magna cum laude graduate of Hunter College, Oksana Martsinkevich is a native of Ukraine, Kiev. Her early years were spent with her grandmother, a physician, who told her stories of saving the lives of soldiers during World War II. From her early childhood, Oksana wanted to be just like her grandmother and save the lives of others. Her resolve to become a physician was strengthened as a result of her experiences with the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986. She watched people become ill from the radiation and was herself hospitalized several times.As Oksana grew to a teen-ager, she watched many other teens suffer with different types of cancer and wished that she could help them.

When she came to America, Oksana enrolled in Hunter College to pursue her undergraduate degree in biology. She distinguished herself at Hunter where she was inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society and Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society. She was awarded a two-year Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship in 1995.

Oksana’s research included work with morphotypes of B. subtilis. Her research, “Classification and Genetic Characterization of Pattern-Forming Bacilli”, appeared in Molecular Biology (1998) 27(4), 687-703. Since her graduation, Oksana has worked as a senior research staff assistant to Dr. John F. Hunt at Columbia University in the field of molecular biology. Their work’s goal is a structure determination of ABC transporter proteins.

In her spare time, Oksana plays the piano and harp. She will attend the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and plans to continue her research in molecular biology.

Cori Salvit, Jamaica, New York
Queens College

Working with elderly patients in various stages of Alzheimer’s disease at Melabev, a geriatric clinic, helped Cori Salvit make the decision to become a geriatrician. Saddened by the condition of the elderly in the clinic, Cori used her time to try and make the patients happy and perhaps, help them retrieve positive memories. There was a wide range of cognitive and functional levels within the group andCori had to be sensitive to the needs and abilities of each person. Cori developed a special friendship with one patient who she had to keep occupied at all times to prevent her leaving the premises, which she often did. Since the patient spoke a mixtureof Russian and Hebrew, it was difficult for Cori to converse with her and she knew that she had to find a non-verbal way to connect with this patient. One day the patient left the clinic. Cori searched the area and saw the patient pacing briskly away from the building. Catching up with her., Cori quickly devised a strategy to focus the patient’s attention and return her to the clinic. Remembering that she had seen the patient dancing at a recent activity, Cori grabbed the patient’s hands and began to sing and sway with her. The patient froze momentarily and then her eyes lit up, as if Cori had suddenly unveiled her hidden love for dance. Cori and the patient continued to dance as Cori led her back to the clinic. Cori sighed with relief and the patient smiled. Cori had discovered a way to identify with this woman and from that day on, dance was Cori’s unique way of communicating with her.

An anthropology major, Cori completed the Honors mathematics and natural sciences curricula at Queens College. Her research project, “Psychiatric Symptom Severity and Length of Stay on an Intensive Rehabilitation Unit” was conducted at Beth Israel Medical Center, under the direction of Dr. Igor Galynker. Data from this research was presented at poster sessions during the Biological Psychiatry conference and at the American Psychiatry Association conference. Cori is co-author of a paper on this research that has been submitted for publication in the journal Psychosomatics.

Cori is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key National Honor Society. She will be awarded her baccalaureate degree summa cum laude in June. In addition, Cori was named to the Dean’s List every semester of her enrollment at Queens College and was awarded a Sigma Xi research fellowship. In addition to her work as a tutor at the College, Cori chaired the Coat Drive and the Canned Food Drive for the past two years. She was a volunteer for YUSSR Summer and Winter Programs in Belarus. Cori plans to continue research in gerontology after she earns her M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Kristina Poblaguyev, Brooklyn, New York
Hunter College

The daughter and niece of physicians, Kristina Poblaguyev’s desire to become a physician began when, as a young child growing up in Latvia, she observed her mother inspiring patients with hope and confidence. Kristina immigrated to the United States nine years ago and graduated from Brooklyn’s Lafayette High School in 1995. As part of her assimilation into a new culture and overcoming the language barrier, she not only perfected her English, but also learned Italian and traveled to Italy to practice that language.

While studying at Hunter College, Kristina worked at the Manhattan Beach Chiropractic Center as a medical assistant. There she began to comprehend the complexity of medicine. She learned that diagnosis alone was not always sufficient for successful treatment and how other factors such as life style, support systems, work and chronic conditions must be considered when approaching a problem. Kristina’s research experiences in the endocrinology laboratory at Cornell University Medical College enabled her to integrate the knowledge acquired in the classroom into the clinical setting. Her research project, “Larval Spleen in Ambystoma mexicanum”, was completed under the direction of Dr. W. D. Cohen at Hunter College.

Kristina has attained a 4.00 GPA at Hunter where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in April of 1998. She participated in the Hunter College-Cornell University Medical Linkage Program and has had extensive volunteer experiences at Lennox Hill Hospital. Kristina will attend Cornell University Medical College.

Michelene Rivas, Sunnyside, New York
Hunter College

Michelene Rivas’ interest in medicine and patient care developed during her childhood in Trinidad when she helped her grandmother and observed her mother’s devotion to helping people with various illnesses. When her grandmother suffered a stroke that limited her leg movement and caused her speech to become slurred, Michelene became her primary care provider during her final years. After immigration to this country, Michelene pursued an undergraduate degree in medical laboratory science at Hunter College from which she graduated summa cum laude in 1994.

While at Hunter, Michelene achieved a 4.00 GPA and began her research activities during her senior year. She worked with Dr. Dean Johnston at New York University Medical College on a melanoma vaccine project as part of a year long independent study. After graduation from Hunter and completion of the independent study, Michelene was invited to work full-time on a project under the direction of Dr. Jean-Claude Bystryn, Professor of Dermatology at New York University. Michelene’s research project was “QS-21 and IL-2, Adjuvants with the Potential to Improve the Immunogenicity of Cancer Vaccines”. Concurrent with her research endeavors, Michelene actively sought patient care opportunities.At the International Center for the Disabled, she assisted therapists with stroke patients and amputees who needed to regain and maintain cardiovascular fitness. As a volunteer at the New York Center for Pain Management, Michelene learned about pain control treatments, such as aqua therapy, which strengthens muscles through repetitive exercises while relieving the muscles of their weight bearing responsibilities. Michelene will attend the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Honorable Mention Awardees

Andrea Tieng, Jackson Heights, New York
Brooklyn College

As a young child, Andrea Tieng often became ill due to severe allergies and bouts with asthma. She recalled the kind of medical care her physician rendered and asked him one day why he had become a physician. He responded that he wanted to help people and this was his life’s purpose. He became Andrea’s role model.

After her graduation from Stuyvesant High School in 1995, Andrea enrolled in Brooklyn College. She completed all of the requirements for the BA/MD Honors Program and for her undergraduate degree in psychology in three and a half years, graduating in January 1999. She was elected to the Golden Key National Honor Society and attained the Dean’s List every semester.

Andrea conducted research in ophthalmology, “DNA Amplification of Rabbit species Cx50 Ciliary Body and Corneal Epithelium and Rat species Cx50 by Polymerase Chain Reaction in Preparation for Sequencing” at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Since graduation, Andrea hasbeen working full-time as a laboratory trainee in ophthalmology there. She completed an internship at the Pediatrics Clinic of the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn. Andrea’s other experiences include service as a volunteer at the Mother/Baby Care Unit at the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, at the New York Academy of Sciences, and at the Public Health Research Institute. She will begin her medical studies at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn in August.

David Kaminetzky, Teaneck, New Jersey
Queens College

David Kaminetzky recently completed his degree requirements for the B.S. in biology with a minor in history at Queens College. In college, David was involved in many extra-curricular activities, including the Biology Honor Society for which he served as president, and was Editor-in-Chief of Nucleus, a biological research publication. He is a member of Golden Key National Honor Society, Beta Delta Pi Biology Honor Society, and Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.

David’s research endeavors began three years ago when he volunteered to work without pay in the Genitourinary Oncology Research Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. According to Dr. David M. Nanus, who directed the laboratory, David independently brought many things to the laboratory. Using his outstanding computer skills, David essentially redesigned the entire computer system in the laboratory. David’s research project, “High Dose Chemotherapy followed by Bone Marrow Reconstitution in Patients with Drug-Sensitive, Hormone-Refractory Metastatic Prostate Cancer” was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Nanus. Since the summer of 1998, David has worked at the Weill Medical School of Cornell University in the Laboratory of Urologic Oncology. David’s most recent work has focused on the ability to detect circulating prostate cancer cells in patients with prostate cancer. David will enter the Hahnemann University School of Medicine.

Vadim V. Morozov, the Bronx, New York
Lehman College

Prior to immigrating to this country from the Republic of Belarus (formerly of USSR) in 1996, Vadim V. Morozov was enrolled in the Vitebak Medical Institute where he was an upper level student. Upon his arrival in New York, Vadim attended Lehman Collegefrom which he graduated in 1997 with a major in biology and 3.96 cumulative grade point average. Vadim’s research project was ” Antimicrobial Activity in Plants of Acathaceae Family”. His research interests remain in reproductive endocrinology and since graduation, Vadim has been employed in pharmaceutical research. Vadim will pursue his D.O. degree at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Martin Agbemabiese, Rosedale, New York
York College

Born in a small town in Ghana where missionaries provided theonly medical care, Martin Agbemabiese received a government scholarship to study engineering in the Ukraine. His primary interest being medicine, he migrated to the United States where he became a Licensed Practical Nurse. While working full-time as anL.P.N., Martin enrolled in York College and attained a 3.97 cumulative grade point average while majoring in chemistry. His research project, ” Synthesis and Characterization of Mixed Metal Transition Metal Polymers” was completed under the mentorship of Dr. L. Richards of the Department of Chemistry at York College. Martin is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Science Award in both 1996 and 1997, and was awarded the Student Government Association’s Academic Excellence Scholarship in 1997 and 1998. Martin will be awarded his B.S. degree summa cum laude in June 1999 and will pursue his M.D. degree at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Andrea Maria Borghese, New York, New York
Lehman College

Andrea Maria Borghese, a native of Ecuador, is thefirst member of her family to attend college. During the first year of her undergraduate studies, Andrea maintained a full-time job as manager of a high-volume restaurant on Wall Street in Manhattan in order to help support her family. Andrea will be awarded her B.S. degree with a major in biochemistry from Lehman College in June. She is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and attained a 3.776 cumulative grade point average at Lehman.

After her first semester at Lehman, Andrea was accepted into the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Lehman College Partnership for Access to Medicine (ELPAM). Her first clinical experience occurred when she was paired with an oncologist, Dr. Fernando Camacho, who became her mentor and role model. At the end of her first year at Lehman, Andrea applied to the National Institutes of Health’s National Undergraduate Scholarship Program. She was awarded a three-year scholarship of $20,000 per academic year. Each summer, she worked as a paid research assistant in an NIH laboratory. Her NIH experiences have enabled her to conduct research under the guidance and direction of internationally renowned physician researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Her research project, “Inducible Transgenic Mouse Models for Autoimmune Myositis,” was completed while at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Receipt of the NIH scholarship has enabled Andrea to concentrate full-time on her studies and research endeavors. Andrea will attend Albert Einstein College of Medicine and after she earns her M.D. degree, she intends to complete a residency in oncology and hematology followed by an NIH post-doctoral fellowship.

Jennifer Madeo, Staten Island, New York
College of Staten Island

The College of Staten Island will award Jennifer Madeo her baccalaureate degree with honors in June. Throughout her academic career at the college, Jennifer has excelled. Her honors project required that she conduct independent research and write a dissertation. Her project was “Construction and Expression of a Fragment STE2, the Gene Encoding the Yeast Mating Pheromone G-protein Coupled Receptor.” She succeeded in cloning a portion of a G protein-coupled receptor, a difficult and challenging project. Jennifer will attend Touro University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in San Francisco.

Camille Andrea Stewart, the Bronx, New York
Lehman College

Camille Andrea Stewart relates that as a teenager growing up in the Bronx, she and her older brother were as different as night and day. When he went off to Yale University, she went off to Satellite Academy, an alternative high school. She recalls that she was forced to enroll in collegeto savor her parents’ pride and on her first day in the huge registration arena, by the time it came for her to register, the courses that she thought might have been remotely interesting were already filled to capacity. Camille enrolled in an introductory chemistry course and at that moment, decided to major in nursing. Halfway through the first semester, Camille was informed that the course was not at all intended for nursing majors, but for people who wanted to pursue careers as scientists and/or physicians. Camille felt she did not fit either description, but knew that for the first time in her life, she found school captivating. Something outside of the world to which she thought she wanted to belong was now a part of Camille’s destiny, and the rest is history.

Camille is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key National Honor Society, the Lehman Scholars Program, and has attained the Dean’s List seven semesters. Lehman will award her degree with honors where she has earned a 3.720 GPA. Camille completed a summer research project, ” Tryptophan and Proteins in Glass” that focused on the encapsulation of proteins into glasses at the University of Pennsylvania. She will attend SUNY Stony Brook Medical School and after attainment of her M.D. degree and completion of her residency, intends to engage in biomedical research.

Jason Aglipay, New Milford, New Jersey
The City College of New York

Jason Aglipay arrived in the United States only six years ago from the Philippines where he had completed three years of high school. He arrived in this country with his father, a veterinarian, his mother, a nurse, and his brother and sister. Jason completed his last year of high school at St. Agnes Boys High School and graduated with honors. Originally, Jason enteredThe City College to pursue a degree in nursing, but when the School of Nursing was closed, Jason recalls that he was very distraught and did not know what to do. He decided to volunteer in Dr. Sharon Cosloy’s laboratory and after a gratifying and exciting experience in biomedical research there, decided to major in biology. Jason’s biomedical research interests continue and he is presently concerned with the regulation of heme biosynthesis in bacteria while he pursues his M.S. degree at The City College of New York.

Throughout his career at City College, Jason has distinguished himself — as a volunteer tutor for general chemistry students, as the student representative for the Minority Biomedical Research Scientists (MBRS) Program, and as the Editor of the Journal of Student Research, which publishes reports of original research performed at the College by its graduate and undergraduate students. His other accomplishments include being named the recipient of the William Stratford Prize for overall excellence in biology course work and research, and the Paul Krupa Award for excellence in research. Jason’s research project was “Characterization of a Porphyrin-Accumulating Mutant of Escherichia coli.” In addition, Jason was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key National Honor Society and Sigma Xi Research Society. Jason was awarded his B.S. degree magna cum laude in 1998. In the Fall, Jason will enter the Ph.D. program in basic medical sciences at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.