Alumni Updates: Reporting Tremendous Success in College and Beyond

By August 30, 2017 One Comment

ASMS is proud of its distinguished alumni, and the world is a better place because of who they are, how they think, and what they have accomplished and will accomplish in the future. In this article, readers will learn about six outstanding alumni who have shared recent accomplishments.

Dr. Joel Andrews (pictured left), a 1995 ASMS graduate, is a research assistant professor and manager of the Cellular and Biomolecular Imaging Facility at the University of South Alabama (USA) Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI). His research is focused on developing techniques that use cutting edge microscopy and programming to visualize and quantify intra-cellular processes.

Andrews received his bachelor’s in biology and German from Earlham College and Ph.D. in basic medical science from the USA College of Medicine. He performed his postdoctoral fellowship at MCI. From 2000-2001, Andrews served as a Fulbright research fellow in Vienna, Austria. He is currently researching interactions between multiple DNA repair pathways and organelles within cells in response to DNA damage.

2013 ASMS Alumna Alexandrea Moseley (pictured right) was selected as a 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Finalist. Moseley graduated from Davidson College in May 2017.

“I have been granted the opportunity to spend eight months in Argentina next year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program,” says Mosley, who is from Fairhope, Ala. “I will be an English teaching assistant at a teacher training college. Without ASMS, I doubt I would have attended Davidson. My three years at ASMS prepared me for a rigorous liberal arts school, and it gave me the opportunities to challenge myself and get involved in more meaningful ways than I could have at home.”

2014 ASMS alumna Suzanna Swanson (pictured left) was accepted to Cornell Law School. Swanson recently received her bachelor’s in international studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Actually, I’m headed to the Peace Corps first,” Swanson says. “Cornell let me defer for two years, so I’ll be teaching primary school English in the Caribbean for two years and then enrolling at Cornell in 2019.”

Dr. Ryan Williams (pictured right), a 1997 ASMS graduate, was offered tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.

“On March 14, 2016, Pi Day, I accepted the offer and moved to Cambridge as of January 2017,” Williams says. “No doubt, it would have been next-to-impossible for me to go where I’ve gone over the last 20 years without the crucial and intense two years of college prep I got from ASMS. So, I’m very grateful and proud to have attended.”

Williams received both his bachelor’s in computer science and mathematics and master’s of engineering in computer science from Cornell University and Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

This past year, 1998 ASMS alumnus John de la Parra (pictured left) received the President’s Award from the Society for Economic Botany and the Excellence in Innovation Award for his work on “Controlled Biosynthesis and Diversification of Plant-Derived Pharmaceuticals” at Northeastern University’s Research, Innovation, and Scholarship (RISE) Expo. Spring 2017, in an unprecedented honor, de la Parra won the top award again for work focused on women’s health. de la Parra is currently busy in his research, attending conferences and delivering keynote talks to share his work with others. He has given featured lectures at Harvard University and was invited to give a special seminar at the Harvard Herbarium in February 2017.

After studying chemical engineering at The Cooper Union in New York City and doing additional studies in botany and horticulture, he went on to work as an ethnobotanist in the field of medicinal plants, eventually running his own research and consulting firm for both academia and industry. de la Parra is now preparing to finish his Ph.D. at Northeastern University in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Through a collaboration he developed with Harvard and Brown Universities, de la Parra has grown his plant collection and worked with Northeastern’s Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Lab to investigate the molecules that plants produce naturally for medicines, while also bringing in traditionally used, yet unanalyzed plants to test against relevant bioassays. This summer, de la Parra attended the American Society of Plant Biologists conference in Hawaii and the XIX International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China to present his innovations in medicinal plant analysis.

2013 ASMS alumnus Ganesh Nadarajan (pictured right) sponsored this year’s ASMS STEM Scholarship, a new academic-based scholarship intended for ASMS seniors pursuing a degree in a STEM-related field with a preference for those interested in engineering or chemistry. Nadarajan generously funded this $500 scholarship in appreciation for the educational opportunities that ASMS provided him and his two siblings Annamalai (Class of 2010) and Ramayee (Class of 2012).

Nadarajan, who recently received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from USA, plans to fund this scholarship for future years.  The scholarship is awarded based on recommendations from ASMS Physics and Chemistry faculty members and the recipient must have a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher in physics and chemistry courses.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Anushka Sikdar says:

    These are the people I would like my model my future after. ASMS has been my goal since the tender age of five and this year I apply to follow in the footsteps of those who leave a legacy, that is ASMS behind.

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