Ana Vazquez-Pagan, a student in the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, has been named to the Yale Ciencia Academy. Vazquez-Pagan is one of 16 U.S. doctoral students who will take part in the 2021 program.
The Yale Ciencia Academy is a yearlong program that helps young researchers develop planning, mentoring and effective communication skills through practical exercises and peer discussions. Fellows will have access to a supportive community of peers from similar backgrounds as a source of encouragement and advice. The program combines virtual and in-person learning, and students will present in-person seminars at Yale University in the summer of 2022.
Vazquez-Pagan is a rising third-year graduate student and the first Puerto Rican student to join the St. Jude Graduate School. One of her goals is to help researchers from similar backgrounds complete their predoctoral work and successfully apply for fellowships. She said alumni from her high school in Puerto Rico also applied for the Yale Ciencia Academy, with one of them being accepted for the fellowship. She is doing her predoctoral work in the lab of Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude.
“The fellowship is something I’ve had my eye on for a while because it helps connect scientists from historically underrepresented groups,” Vazquez-Pagan said. “The next step after graduate school can be uncertain. Through this fellowship, I’ll be able to network with scientists like me and work on the skills that are needed in the transition.”
“I am thrilled that Ana’s accomplishments and potential have been recognized through the receipt of this prestigious award,” Schultz-Cherry said. “She is a fantastic scientist and someone to watch in the future. I am honored to be her mentor.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch