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Vanderbilt Basic Sciences Juneteenth 2022 Awards

On June 15, 2022, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences hosted its first annual Juneteenth recognition event called “Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration.” (View Photos)

Two committees formed in advance of the event, an “abstracts” committee and the Vanderbilt University Juneteenth Committee for Basic Sciences, organized to recognize Black scholarship, leadership, mentorship, service, and allyship at the local and national levels.

The abstracts committee reviewed abstracts submitted by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and selected the top abstract from each category as well as an overall winner, recognizing well-written and scientifically sound abstracts. The graduate student and postdoctoral fellow recognized for their abstracts were invited to presented lightning talks about their research at the event.

The Vanderbilt University Juneteenth Committee for Basic Sciences was chaired by Felysha Jenkins, the diversity, equity, and inclusion program manager for Basic Sciences, comprising a variety of Black and ally professionals from across the country, including a lawyer, a physician, a physician assistant, a nurse, several Ph.D. scientists, and more. The committee contacted “Black in X” organizations for nominations and selected the winners, who are listed below.

Platform Speakers Awards, recipients were invited to speak at the “Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration Event”)
Best Eldership and Scientific Inspiration: Nathan Smith, University of Rochester
Best Leadership: Brittany Taylor, University of Florida
Best Postdoc: Aileen Fernandez, Yale University

Vanderbilt Juneteenth Award for Lighting Talks, recipients were invited to speak at the “Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration Event”)
Best Graduate Student Abstract: Carlan Romney, Fisk University
Best Postdoctoral Fellow Abstract: Jessica Thomas, Vanderbilt University
Best Overall Abstract: Jessica Thomas, Vanderbilt University

Black scholarship, leadership, mentorship, service, and allyship awards
Best Mentor of the Year (national and local):

  • Steven Damo, Fisk University
  • Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Columbia University
  • Marcus Lambert, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Best Advisor (national and local):

  • Jamaine Davis, Meharry Medical College
  • Clintoria Williams, Wright State University

Best Casual Mentor (national and local):

  • Kafond Wilder, Vanderbilt University
  • Haysetta Shuler, Winston-Salem State University

Best Shadow Mentor (national and local):

  • Breann Brown, Vanderbilt University
  • Exazevia Logan, Winston-Salem State University

Best Allyship (national and local):

  • Vivian Gama, Vanderbilt University
  • Linda Sealy, Vanderbilt University
  • Maria Elena Zavala, California State University

Icon Award (national and local):

  • Andre Churchwell, Vanderbilt University
  • Donita Brady, University of Pennsylvania
  • Kafui Dzirasa, Duke University

Scientific Lifetime Achievement Award (national):

  • Sandra Murray, University of Pittsburgh
  • Morris J. Clarke, Winston-Salem State University
  • George Langford, Syracuse University

Best Research Productivity Award (local):

  • Renã Robinson, Vanderbilt University
  • Steven Townsend, Vanderbilt University

Service Award (nation and local):

  • Dexter Lee, Howard University
  • Latanya Hammonds-Odie, Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Theanne Griffth, University of California, Davis
  • Stanley Andrisse, Howard University

Best Organization Service Award (national and local, shared):

  • Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program
  • Vanderbilt Black Cultural Center
  • National Black Postdoctoral Association
  • Community of Scholars
  • Black in Neuro
  • Black in Physiology
  • Black in Cardio

Best MD/Ph.D. student (local):

  • Yasminye Pettway, Vanderbilt University
  • Jerome S. Arceneaux, Vanderbilt University

Best Graduate Student (national and local):

  • Adriana Norris, Vanderbilt University
  • Tiffany Richardson, Vanderbilt University
  • Micah Johnson, University of Iowa
  • Angeline Dukes, University of California, Irvine
  • Ralph White III, University of Minnesota
  • Camilo Echeverria, University of California, Davis

Dedication to Changing the Climate of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (local):

Kafond Wilder, Vanderbilt University

Best Peer-to-Peer Mentor Postdoc Award (Research, Outreach & DEI) (national and local):

  • Chrystal Starbird, Yale University
  • Yvon Woappi, Harvard University
  • Frankie Heyward, Harvard University
  • Heather Beasley, Vanderbilt University
  • Tam’ra Kay Francis, Washington University

New Investigator Award (national):

  • Chantell Evans, Duke University
  • Calvin Carter, University of Iowa
  • Bianca Marlin, Columbia University
  • Melanie McReynolds, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Cornelius Taabazuing, University of Pennsylvania

Best Professor Award (national):

  • Christopher Barnes, Stanford University
  • Sonya Neal, University of California, Davis
  • Samantha Lewis, University of California, Berkeley
  • Gustavo Silva, Duke University

Best Research Scientist Award (local):

  • Andrea Marshall, Vanderbilt University
  • Lillian Brady, Vanderbilt University
  • ReAnna Roby, Vanderbilt University

Best Research Discovery Award (national and local):

  • Kizzmekia Corbett, Harvard University
  • Karl Zelik, Vanderbilt University

Perseverance Award (local):

Jade E. Stanley, Vanderbilt University

Outstanding Intersectionality Award in STEMM (national and local):

  • Derrick Morton, University of Southern California
  • Derek Applewhite, Reed College
  • Manu Platt, Georgia Institute of Technology


View Photos!