Emmanuel College is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through the Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program.
When choosing a college, Eileen knew two things for sure—that she would be able to get to know her professors and peers and that she wanted to be in an area in which she would have myriad opportunities in the research and medicine.
Emmanuel's small class sizes and location in the Longwood Medical Area among the country's top hospitals were a perfect match. Finding herself most drawn to her biology coursework, she wasted no time seeking hands-on experience in Boston's major research organizations.
On the recommendation from one of her biology professors, she applied and was accepted to the CURE program through nearby Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and spent the summer before her sophomore year participating in clinical research in the institute's adult leukemia department. The program introduces college students from underrepresented populations to the world of cancer research by placing them in real research settings at local cancer research institutions. Their goal is to encourage students to pursue careers in the biosciences, giving practical meaning to academic course work while also enabling them to make a valuable contribution to the DF/HCC research mission.
"I had the opportunity to meet world-renowned doctors and researchers who came from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds," Eileen said. "Being mentored by such talented individuals was inspiring."
Through the research with CURE, which focused on patient vs. nonpatient perspective toward clinical trials, Eileen submitted an abstract to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Anaheim, California. During the four-day conference, more than 2,500 students from 350+ colleges and universities participated in poster and oral presentations in twelve STEM disciplines. In addition to winning an award for her presentation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health category, she gained a career-affirming perspective.
"I learned about career opportunities I didn't even realize existed," she said. "I had the chance to connect with students from around the world who had similar interests and aspirations. It was enthralling, and it made me surer that I am headed in the right direction."
While Eileen is happy with her decision to pursue a biology major, she also wanted to learn more about a specialized topic in biology. "I recently decided to pursue a neuroscience minor," she said. "I'd admired it from afar, and I'm excited to learn more about this field."
For her remaining time at Emmanuel, Eileen plans to continue her journey in research and find time to study abroad in Italy. Long-term, she's focused on pursuing a career in the medical field, specifically as a surgeon.
"I'm thrilled for what the future holds, and I trust my path will lead me to something I love," she said.