Third-year Jennifer Jimenez was selected to participate in the Amgen Foundation’s prestigious Amgen Scholars Program. A biology major and chemistry minor, Jimenez is spending 10 weeks this summer conducting hands-on, cutting edge research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is one of 340 students accepted to the program from nearly 5,000 applicants globally. The program partners with 17 leading educational institutions across the United States, Europe, and Japan to host scholars in research labs.
Since 2006, the Amgen Scholars Program has provided hands-on research opportunities under world-renowned faculty mentors to nearly 2,500 undergraduate students. More than 90 percent of the program’s alumni who have completed their bachelor’s degree are currently pursuing an advanced degree or career in a scientific field.
“We’re excited to welcome Jennifer and all of the 2015 class of Amgen Scholars,” says Eduardo Cetlin, president of Amgen Foundation. "These talented students have the potential to go on to create life-saving medicines and solve other global challenges—which is why we’re committed to providing this type of pivotal opportunity that can kick-start their careers as scientists.”
Jimenez, who is from Okemos, Michigan, chose to apply to the program after interning last summer with Richard Lenski ’76, professor of microbial biology at Michigan State University. Lenski is a leader in the fields of evolutionary and microbial biology and a past recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program. “I knew that this summer I wanted to continue to do research but with a more biomedical focus,” Jimenez says. “My hope is to explore the intersection between research and medicine.”
Earlier this summer, Jimenez interned at the NIH in Dr. Nigel Crawford’s lab as part of the National Human Genome Institute. Her research project was focused on three prostate cancer susceptibility genes, and their involvement in aggressive prostate cancer metastasis.
In addition to her individual research experience, Jimenez, along with the NIH Amgen Scholars, joined other U.S.-based Amgen Scholars at a regional summer symposium hosted at UCLA and Amgen in July. She spent the weekend hearing from some of the nation's top researchers and finishing with a tour of the Amgen Biotech Company’s facilities. “The symposium at UCLA was a wonderful experience," says Jimenez. “We had the opportunity to network with other Amgen Scholars conducting research at institutes across the country, including Harvard, Columbia, Washington University, and Berkeley, as well as with professors and admissions representatives from each of the sites.”
Outside of her work in the lab, Jimenez also works as a copy editor for the Oberlin Review, is a member of the Latin dance group Movimiento, and works as a teaching assistant and tutor for introductory biology and psychology. After Oberlin, she plans to pursue an MD or an MD/PhD and enter the field of academia or health care.