Drew Students Rake In Scholarships

Independent Colleges and Universities for New Jersey sponsors dole out awards

January 2020 – Ten Drew University students have been awarded scholarships through the Independent Colleges and Universities for New Jersey (ICFNJ) organization.

The scholarships are given to students from ICFNJ member institutions who applied, and are funded through donations and corporate sponsors. Drew students were awarded scholarships that celebrate achievements and dreams ranging from lab research in genetics to passion for the stage.


Junhui Huang C'20 is one of 10 Drew students recognized by the ICFNJ.

We talked to each student about the coursework and research that helped them land their scholarships, how they plan to utilize the funding and their post-graduation plans.

Ghaith Abdallah C’21 – Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major

Scholarship: 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium

His research: “My research is focused on identifying the products that result from breaking down key components of the immunological process within the human body.”

About that prize money: “The funds I recently received from ICFNJ helped push my research to the next stage and provided the means required to get assays critical in the identification process of the products.”

Life after Drew: “I plan to focus on my research while also preparing for the MCAT so that I can apply to medical school.”

Junhui Huang C’20 – Biochemistry major; physics and math minor

Scholarship: Celfene’s Sol J. Barer Scholarship for Life Sciences

His research: “My research focused on using organic chemistry knowledge and several instruments to discover new antibacterial compounds.”

About that prize money: “I’ll donate half of it to the lab that I worked in and I’ll save the other half for future use.”

Life after Drew: “I plan to go to Columbia University for an engineering degree.”


Rutendo Jakachira C'20 presented her research at last year's Day of Scholars event.

Rutendo Jakachira C’20 – Physics major

Scholarship: Novartis Science Scholarship

Her research: “I am researching confocal microscopy.”

About that prize money: “I am very grateful for this scholarship and plan on using it to pay towards my tuition.”

Life after Drew: “Post graduation I plan on pursuing a PhD in physics.”


Shanjida Khan C'20 conducted research in the lab with Associate Professor Bjorg Larson.

Shanjida Khan C’20 – Physics major; math and biology minor

Scholarship: Schering-Plough Undergraduate Research Scholarship

Her research: “My research with Dr. Larson focused on a confocal microscope that will effectively show image to image live tissues.”

About that prize money: “These scholarship funds enable me to continue studying and doing research at Drew and beyond.”

Life after Drew: “I plan to study biomedical engineering in graduate school.”

Matheus Macena de Carvalho C’21 – Physics major

Scholarship: ICFNJ Grant, 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium

His research: “Our main goal for the summer was to develop a background subtraction data processing technique in our Line-scanning microscope to increase its resolution and eliminate the haziness of our final images.”

About that prize money: “The funds are going to be used on the replacement of the system board of the microscope’s camera which burned out over the summer, and on the purchase of a better imaging camera.”

Life after Drew: “My plan is to get an engineering degree, so I will be applying at the end of this semester on the two dual-degree programs that Drew has with Columbia University and Washington University.”


Shivani Mody's research focuses on C. elegans, model organisms used to study diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Shivani Mody C’21 – Neuroscience major; chemistry minor

Scholarship: BD Scholarship

Her research: “My objective is to identify robust behavioral assays with C. elegans mutants to identify drugs or genes that can reduce and potentially prevent the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons.”

Life after Drew: “My postgraduate plans are to attend medical school and pursue a physician career track! I am open to many opportunities that come my way as I study to become a doctor, including public service opportunities, research opportunities and/or teaching opportunities.”

About that prize money: “This scholarship will advance my career goals and support my future expenses as I begin to explore my options for medical school.”


Karishma Patel C'21: "I really think all my experience at Drew so far has shaped my passions and given me the drive to push forward to medical school and beyond."

Karishma Patel C’21 – Neuroscience and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major; French and public health minor

Scholarship: J&J Pre-Professional Health Care

Her research: “Literature suggests that mutant versions of the Neurexin and Neuroligin genes are seen in patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Because of the challenges associated with studying and manipulating genes in human patients, our lab is working to transfer the human genes for Neurexin and Neuroligin into C. elegans so they can be studied, manipulated, and perhaps even modified.”

Life after Drew: “I am hoping to go to medical school. Because of my past experience as an EMT and as an intern in the emergency departments of both Boston Children’s Hospital and Morristown Medical Center, my goal for now is to pursue Emergency Medicine.”

About that prize money: “These scholarship funds are a huge help and will be applied to my tuition. I am so grateful to continue being part of the Drew community, having the chance to do such awesome research and partake in such amazing internships.”


"Having the opportunity to be funded by ICFNJ and, in extension, Johnson & Johnson, is an amazing opportunity that will allow me to have more open doors.” - Vanessa Raab C'21

Vanessa Raab C’21 – Biology major

Scholarship: J&J Pre-Professional Health Care

Her research: “I am researching the genetic difference of ribosomal genes within strains of Kibdelosporangium sp.”

Life after Drew: “I am planning on pursuing a future with graduate studies and research.”

About that prize money: “The scholarship is helping pay for my tuition for spring 2020.”


Alyssa Sileo C'22 plans on going to graduate school and eventually a doctorate program for theatre studies.

Alyssa Sileo C’22 – Theatre Arts major; Spanish minor

Scholarship: Lyrics for Lucas

Her studies: “I am passionate about playwriting, dramaturgy, performance, company management and arts activism.”

About that prize money: “I will use the scholarship funds to go towards tuition.”

Life after Drew: “I want to work with theatre companies that are dedicated to making art with and for underserved communities.”

Bee Suffrin C’22 – Neuroscience major

Scholarship: CIC/UPS Scholarship

Immersive experiences: “Next semester I plan on participating in the MVAC Cadet Program.”

Life after Drew: “Definitely get a job surrounding the healthcare/medical field to one day become a doctor, hopefully! To get there I will doing a ton of research with professors on campus as well as volunteer around hospitals.”

About that prize money: “The scholarship funds will be going to help pay for my schooling as well as books.”

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