Claflin University STEM Scholars Win National Awards at Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students

Front row, from left: Jira T. White, Janela J. Morsby, Ashleigh J. Farmer, Kai E. Cotton. Second Row, from left: Adriana Dacres, Taaliah Q. Campbell

Six research scholars from Claflin University’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics won national awards during the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) held recently in Phoenix, Arizona.

Kia Cobb (Sumter HS/Sumter, S.C.) won for research presented in the category of Computational and Systems Biology and Adriana Dacres (International HS/Jamaica) placed first in the Microbiology section.  Janeala Morsby (International HS/Jamaica) and Taaliah Campbell (West Ashley HS/Hollywood, S.C.) received awards in the Cancer Biology category.  Jira White (William Mason High/Smiths Station, Ala.) earned recognition for her investigation in the Chemistry category and Ashleigh Farmer (South West DeKalb High School/Decatur, Ga.)  was honored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Claflin was represented at the conference by 29 students, five faculty and two staff members. Claflin’s Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program – a $1.3 million grant funded by National Institutes of Health-National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH-NIGMS) – provided financial assistance to several Claflin students who made presentations.  The group was also accompanied by Dr. Gloria S. McCutcheon, the grant’s principal investigator and Program Manager Carolyn Sherman.  McCutcheon is also interim chair and professor of biology at Claflin. Dr. Samina Assanie-Shivji is the grant’s co-investigator.

ABRCMS comprises the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students attend the organization’s annual conference to present their research, explore graduate schools, and network.  The conference was attended by more than 4,000 registered participants.  Included were nearly 2,000 students from over 350 colleges and universities who participated in poster and oral presentations in twelve STEM disciplines. All undergraduate student presentations are judged and those receiving the highest scores in each scientific discipline were presented awards during the closing banquet.

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