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We are now accepting applications for entry in Summer 2022.

Jesse Hall and MU columns

MU PREP Scholars

2020 PREP scholars

2020 MU PREP Scholars

MU PREP scholars have come from the full range of academic institutions, from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities. Many are from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Minority Serving Institutions.

MU PREP scholars said that they were attracted to MU PREP for its cutting-edge faculty research programs, its interdisciplinary research focus, our comprehensive research and professional development program for PREP Scholars, and because of the collegiality they saw among our Scholars when they visited campus.

Our former Scholars are very successful. Eighty-nine percent enrolled directly in graduate programs and 78% in PhD programs. Of those that enrolled in PhD programs, 90% have already received their PhD or are on track to do so. Those who received their PhD took on average 6.4 years to complete the degree, well below the national average of 6.9 years in the life sciences and 7.8 years for underrepresented minority PhD candidates in the life sciences.

Laurie AgostoLaurie Agosto
lmhavv@mail.missouri.edu
BS, University of Central Florida

Hairol BretonHairol Breton
hebkfn@missouri.edu
BS, University of Virgin Islands

Tara CrawfordTara Crawford
tkctz7@mail.missouri.edu
BS, University of Missouri, Columbia

Dezzarae LueraDezzarae Luera
dlxbt@missouri.edu
BS, University of Texas, San Antonio

Ruth OpokuRuth Opoku
opokur@mail.missouri.edu
BS, Medgar Evers College

Ashley SmithAshley Smith
ajsgfp@mail.missouri.edu
BS, Alcorn State University

Reinier SuarezReinier Suarez
rswz6@mail.missouri.edu
BS, Florida State University

Cecil TerrellCecil Terrell
cdtn92@mail.missouri.edu
BS, University of Missouri

Willie Agee, PhD
BA, Savannah State University
MU PREP Scholar 2003-2004
PhD, Medical College of Georgia, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, 2011
Asst. Chief, Microbiology, Tripler Army Medical Center, 2011-2015
MD, Meharry Medical College, 2015
Currently: Resident, Vanderbilt Medical School, Anesthesiology

Tolulope (Tolu) Ajayi
BS, Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis
MU PREP Scholar 2017-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Florida, Biomedical Engineering

Patrick Akande
BS, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2014-2016
Currently: Level Two Water Ecologist and Team Lead in Small Business Community Outreach and Education, New York City Department of Health
Currently: applying to MPH programs

James Allen
BS, University of Illinois-Urbana
MU PREP Scholar 2011-2013
PhD, Washington University, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 2019
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University-Mass General Hospital

Vimal Arora
BA, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2018-2020
Currently: Applying to doctoral programs

Alicia Barnes, DO, MPH
BA, Knox College
MU PREP Scholar 2004-2006
DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2011
Currently: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, St. Louis University

Edelio Bazan
BS, University of Texas-Pan American
MU PREP Scholar 2013-2015
Currently: Doctoral Student, Pennsylvania State, Plant Pathology

Telia Bledson
BA, Alabama State University
MU PREP Scholar 2003-2005
Currently: Technologist LabCorp, Durham, NC

Militza Bonet
BA, Inter American University of Puerto Rico
MU PREP Scholar 2006-2007
MPH, University of Missouri, School of Public Health, 2009
Currently: Program Manager/Community Engagement Liaison, Cardiovascular Center, Medical College of Wisconsin

Lana Bruney
BA, Alabama State University
MU PREP Scholar 2003-2005
PhD, University of Notre Dame, Chemistry/Biochemistry, 2015
Currently: Chemist, Office of Policy, Center for Drug Evaluation, FDA

Jessica Burroughs-Garcia
BA, Inter American University of Puerto Rico
MU PREP Scholar 2005-2007
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2013
Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurobiology/Anatomy, University of Utah
Currently: Research Fellow, University of Parma, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Italy

Aisha Burton
BS, University of Illinois-Chicago
MU PREP Scholar 2012-2013
PhD, Indiana University, Microbiology, 2019
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH, NICHD

Regan Cadena
BS, New Mexico State University
MU PREP Scholar 2018-2019
Currently: Laboratory Assistant, TriCore, Santa Fe, NM

Gerialisa Caesar
BA, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2009-2011
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2018
Postdoctoral Fellow, IRACDA, Rutgers 2019
Currently: Scientist, Regeneron, Tarrytown, NY
Currently: Scientist, Phosphorus Diagnostics, NY, NY

Taylor Craig
BS, Emory University
MU PREP Scholar 2016-2017
Currently: Doctoral student, University of Michigan, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Laureen Daniels
BS, Bowie State University
MU PREP Scholar 2019-2020
Currently: Doctoral student, University of Illinois, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Richard De La Rosa
BS, New Mexico State University
MU PREP Scholar 2015-2016
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Texas Health Sciences Center-San Antonio, Integrated Biomedical Sciences

Theresa Dinh
BA, University of California-Davis
MU PREP Scholar 2004-2006
PhD, Univ. of California-Riverside, Chemical Genomics/Bioinformatics, 2012
Postdoctoral Fellow in Pathology, Stanford University Currently: Research Scientist in Pathology, Stanford University

Natalie Downer
BA, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2006-2007
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2014
Assistant Teaching Professor of Biology, Truman State University and University of Missouri 2014-2017
Currently: Assistant Director of University of Missouri McNair Scholars Program

Franklin Echevarria
BA, Iowa State University
MU PREP Scholar 2010-2011
PhD, Vanderbilt University, Neuroscience, 2017
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience, Case Western Reserve University

Gilbert Encarnacion Cortes
BS, University of Puerto Rico – Humaco
MU PREP Scholar 2013-2014
MPH, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, 2018
Currently: Epidemiologist Regional Level, Puerto Rico Department of Health, US Centers for Disease Control, 2019
Currently: Applying to MD/PhD programs

Patricia Enmore
BA, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2009-2011
PhD, SUNY-Stony Brook, Neurobiology, 2016
Currently: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Medgar Evers College
and Assistant Professor of Biology, SUNY Old Westbury

Wanda Figueroa-Cuilan
BS, University of Puerto Rico-Cayey
MU PREP Scholar 2012-2014
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2019
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine

Kristal Gant
BS, Elizabeth City State University
MU PREP Scholar 2015-2016
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Wisconsin, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology

Shaundra Glass (Shaw)
BA, Tennessee State University
MU PREP Scholar 2006-2007
Currently: Clinical & Research Specialist, West Clinic in Memphis

Jarreau Harrison
BS, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2015-2016
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Rochester, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Chiamaka Isiguzo
BA, St. Olaf College
MU PREP Scholar 2014-2015
DO, A.T. Still University
Currently: Resident, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI

Taryn James
BA, Florida A&M University
MU PREP Scholar 2003-2004
PhD, University of Missouri, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology, 2011
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Oncology, 2011-2015
Postdoctoral Associate in Toxicology/Urology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 2015-2019
Currently: Assistant Scientist (Medicine/Geriatrics) University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 2019

Rody Kingston
BA, Morehouse College
MU PREP Scholar 2016-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Pittsburgh, Biological Sciences

Dan Landayan
BS, University of California-Davis
MU PREP Scholar 2011-2013
PhD, University of California-Merced, Quantitative and Systems Biology, 2019
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, Neurobiology

Angela Lovett
BS, California State University-Sacramento
MU PREP Scholar 2012-2014
Currently: Doctoral student, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Biomedical Sciences/Microbiology

Kayla Marks
BS, Rochester Institute of Technology
MU PREP Scholar 2015-2017
Currently: Doctoral student, University of Missouri, Microbial Pathogenesis and Therapeutics

Jose Marquez
BA, University of California-Davis
MU PREP Scholar 2018-2020
Currently: Doctoral student, University of California-Davis, Neuroscience

David Martin
BS, Alabama State
MU PREP Scholar 2017-2018
Currently: Middle School Physical and Life Sciences Teacher, McIntyre Comprehensive Academy, Montgomery, AL
Currently: Masters Student, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Masters in Education with High School Emphasis

Sierra McAlister
BS, University of Missouri-St. Louis
MU PREP Scholar 2018-2019
Currently: Doctoral Student, Indiana University, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior

Walatta-Tseyon Mesquitta
BA, Illinois Institute of Technology
MU PREP Scholar 2009-2011
PhD, University of Wisconsin, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology, 2018
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Organ Design and Engineering

Janelle Miranda Fajardo
BS, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Pedras
MU PREP Scholar 2014-2015
Currently: Doctoral Student, New York University-Sackler Institute, Neurosciences

Tina Ndam
BS, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
MU PREP Scholar 2105-2017
Currently: Medical Student, St. George’s University

Christie Ojiaku
BS, University of Florida
MU PREP Scholar 2011-2013
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Pharmacology, 2018
Vice President of Communications, Penn Biotech Group Healthcare Consulting, PA, 2018
Currently: Consulting Associate and Staffing Coordinator, Charles River Associates, NY

Rachel Omolewu
BA, Wilberforce University
MU PREP Scholar 2004-2006
MA, Wright State Univ. School of Medicine, Physiology, 2010
Currently: Quality Management Analytical Chemist, Cargill Inc.

Kristy Ortega (Johnson)
BA, California State University-Stanislaus
MU PREP Scholar 2014-2015
Currently: Doctoral Student, George Washington University, Biomedical Sciences

Keila Pena-Hernandez
BA, Inter American University of Puerto Rico
MU PREP Scholar 2004-2005
MPH, University of Missouri School of Public Health, 2011

Currently: Contact Representative, Social Security Administration

Nadia Perez
BS, University of North Carolina-Pembroke
MU PREP Scholar 2011-2013
MS, University of Michigan, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, 2020
Currently: High School Science Teacher, Danbury, CN

Jordan Rede
BA, St. Martin's University
MU PREP Scholar 2017-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, Cornell University, Microbiology

Raphael Reyes
BA, University of California-Riverside
MU PREP Scholar 2017-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Texas Health Sciences University at San Antonio, Integrated Biomedical Sciences-Infection, Inflammation, Immunity

Jesse Rosalez
BS, San Jose State University
MU PREP Scholar 2018-2019
Currently: Process Engineer, Hyve Design Solutions, Fremont, CA

Jolill Ross
BA, Spelman College
MU PREP Scholar 2009-2011
MA, University of Missouri, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, 2014
Associate Account Manager, Life Science Solutions, Thermo Fisher, 2015
Currently: Territory Manager, Takara Bio USA

Jocelynda Salvador
BS, University of California Irvine
MU PREP Scholar 2016-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, Northwestern University, Life Sciences

Gabriela Sanchez
BS, University of California-Riverside
MU PREP Scholar 2017-2019
Currently: Doctoral Student, UCLA, Biochemistry, Molecular & Structural Biology

Stephen Shannon
BA, University of Missouri-St. Louis
MU PREP Scholar 2004-2006
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2012
Postdoctoral Fellow in Oncology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 2012-2016
Certificate in Mini-MBA BioPharma Innovation from Rutgers University Business School, 2016
Medical Affairs/Communication Fellow, Novocare, New York, 2016-2017
Currently: Assistant Medical Director, Biolumina, New York

Christine Simbolon (Baudenstiel)
BS, Whitman College
MU PREP Scholar 2011-2013
Currently: Doctoral Student, John Hopkins University, Cell, Molecular, Developmental and Biophysics
Currently: Senior Data Scientist/Project Manager, Atlantic Medical Management, Chattanooga, TN

Andrew Smith
BS, California State University-Stanislaus
MU PREP Scholar 2016-2017
Currently: Dental Student (Academic/Research Dentistry track), University of Southern California

Jerry Steward
BS, University of Missouri
MU PREP Scholar 2013-2014
Family and Community Specialist, St. Louis Public Schools, 2014-2016
Currently: Lead Teacher KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Triumph Academy, St. Louis

Tiffany Taylor
BS, State University of New York at Oneonta
MU PREP Scholar 2016-2018
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Pittsburgh, Microbiology and Immunology

Simone Maria Temporal
BA, SUNY-Stony Brook
MU PREP Scholar 2005-2007
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2012-2017
Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurobiology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012-2017
Currently: Licensing Associate, Office of Technology Transfer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Marielis Torres-Medina
BA, Inter American University of Puerto Rico
MU PREP Scholar 2005-2007
MA, University of Missouri, Food Science and Nutrition, 2008
Currently: Quality Coordinator Global Microbiology, Covance Food Solutions, Covance Laboratories, Madison, WI

David Vasquez
BS, Virginia Tech
MU PREP Scholar 2015-2016
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Georgia, Interdisciplinary Disease Ecology Across Scales

Eric Villalon
BA, University of California-Davis
MU PREP Scholar 2010-2012
PhD, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences, 2016
Postdoctoral Fellow in Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, 2016-2019
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, Biological Chemistry School of Medicine

Charles Washington III
BA, University of Pennsylvania
MU PREP Scholar 2013-2015
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Chicago, Human Genetics

Patricka Williams-Simon
BA, Medgar Evers College
MU PREP Scholar 2013-2015
Currently: Doctoral Student, University of Missouri, Biological Sciences