The gift of education has the power to transform lives. For a first generation college student, a scholarship can change a life’s trajectory. A fellowship for a talented graduate student may hold the key to a groundbreaking discovery that will impact all of society. Following are the stories of four outstanding scholarship and fellowship recipients and the exciting work they are doing at UC San Diego.
National Research Service Award, Chancellor’s Collaboratories Grant
Gena Glickman’s research focuses on how natural daily cycles of light and darkness serve to regulate circadian rhythms, seasonal cycles and hormonal fluctuations in mammals. Disruption of this pattern can lead to a breakdown in normal homeostasis, compromising physical health and wellbeing. Glickman has identified ways in which different lighting characteristics can impact circadian response in mammals, findings that have implications for further understanding alertness and performance, sleep disturbances and hormone sensitive cancers in humans. In addition to the financial support, Glickman said that fellowships and grants have provided her with valuable opportunities that have helped her to become a more competitive and promising candidate for jobs following graduate school.
Woo Family Scholar
Aaron Louie’s paternal grandmother fled rural Taishan for the United States in 1974. For more than a decade, she worked in Chinatown sweatshops to bring her nine children to the U.S., one by one. That is Louie’s heritage. At UC San Diego, Louie has conducted numerous undergraduate research projects studying bacterial pathogenesis and innate immunity, among other studies. He also volunteers with the UC San Diego Student-run Free Clinic and Owen Clinic. He plans to pursue a dual M.D./Ph.D. program to explore new applications of biomedical research—a goal that will make him not only a first-generation college graduate, but also the first in his extended family to attain either an M.D. or Ph.D. degree. “The generosity of donors has allowed me to pursue discoveries and explore important questions,” said Louie. “Their altruism keeps education alive, and the future is something we should nurture, not starve."
Fascinated by human intelligence, Helen Saad is delving into brain research in bioengineering professor Gabriel Silva’s laboratory. Through theoretical work guided by experimental findings, Saad aims to better elucidate how brain structure and connectivity, synaptic strength, and neuronal excitability are regulated in concert to optimize the performance of neuronal circuits and shape intelligence. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and prior to joining UC San Diego's Ph.D. program, Saad held technical and leadership positions in multinational companies, and she is the first Lebanese citizen to receive the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award. Saad aims to one day establish a bioengineering research center and a business park in her home country of Lebanon. She wants to help create a first-class nonprofit, nonsectarian research facility and to stimulate science- and technology-based entrepreneurship, hoping that this project will help people in Lebanon to transcend ethnic, religious and political boundaries.
George Parker Memorial Scholar
Edward Sommers and his seven siblings were raised by his grandmother in South Central Los Angeles until circumstances led him to be placed in a group home. When he enrolled at a local community college, one of his professors inspired him to pursue engineering and biology. He transferred to UC San Diego and received the George Parker Memorial Scholarship, which was established to support students at UC San Diego who were raised in foster care for three or more years. Today, the nanoengineering major is working to establish a Big Brother Engineering program to help guide foster youth on their educational journey.
To help support UC San Diego’s outstanding students, please visit the Scholarships and Student Life website at www.studentsupport.ucsd.edu and the Graduate Fellowships site at www.giving.ucsd.edu/fellowships.
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