The New Class of UNCF/Merck Science Initiative Scholars

A new class of UNCF/Merck Science Initiative Scholars has been announced. The program, a partnership of the United Negro College Fund and Merck Inc., the global pharmaceutical firm, aims to increase the number of Black students pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines. Now in its 17th year, the program has provided scholarships and fellowships to 627 students.

This year 15 undergraduate students will receive scholarships of up to $25,000 each. Here are the 15 undergraduate fellows and their undergraduate institutions:

  • Onyemaechi C. Anoruo, Temple University
  • Dara Bobb-Semple, State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • Carmen L. Del Valle, Columbia University
  • Piaget J. Francois, University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh
  • Kia R. Johnson, University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul
  • Russell J. Ledet, Southern University and A & M College
  • David Marcelin, Fordham University
  • Erika M. Moore, John Hopkins University
  • Evelyn Okeke, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York
  • Victoria Okuneye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Marisha M. Perkins, University of the Virgin Islands
  • Faith Simunyu, Denison University
  • Anthony M. Todd, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Ashton K. Wheeler, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Jalissa L. Wynder, Southern University, Baton Rouge

In addition, 12 graduate students will receive fellowships of up to $53,500 each. They are:

  • Sarah Ann R. Anderson, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Undergraduate Institution: Xavier University of Louisiana)
  • Alicia T. Barr, Medical College of Wisconsin (Undergraduate Institution: Case Western Reserve University)
  • Jamaal L. Benjamin, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Undergraduate Institution: Morehouse College)
  • April M. Clayton, John Hopkins University (Undergraduate Institution: Erskine College)
  • Janice M. Dias, University of Miami (Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami)
  • Christina N. Garlington, University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami)
  • Uzoma K. Iheagwara, University of Pittsburgh (Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
  • Kateena L. Johnson, Morehouse School of Medicine (Undergraduate Institution: Agnes Scott College)
  • Paul Kelley, California Institute of Technology (Undergraduate Institution: The Catholic University of America)
  • Folami Lamoke, Medical College of Georgia (Undergraduate Institution: Brown University)
  • Elizabeth M. Ransey, Carnegie Mellon University (Undergraduate Institution: Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Dionna W. Williams, Yeshiva University (Undergraduate Institution: Hofstra University)

And 10 postdoctoral students will receive research fellowships of up to $92,000 each. They are:

  • Nnenna A Finn, Ph.D., Emory  University
  • Keneshia Haenssen, Ph.D., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
  • Dahlia Haynes, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
  • Rashade A.H. Haynes II, Ph.D., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
  • Curtis J. Henry, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver
  • Jessica Lopes Da Rosa-Spiegler, Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • Arion Kennedy, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
  • Stephanie M. Malone, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
  • Troy A. Mceachron, Ph.D., St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital
  • Hosea M. Nelson, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley


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