Student Honors & Awards

We are very proud of the accomplishments of our graduate students.  BSD students have an excellent record of obtaining competitive fellowships, receiving national awards for their research, and publishing findings that move their fields forward.  The most recent student accomplishments are shown below.

Recent Student Accomplishments

Paul Maurizio receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award in recognition of Exceptional DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

Postdoc Paul Maurizio helped found the PAN Asian Student Coalition. He recruited faculty member Dr. Hae Kyung Im to advise the student group and also hired two student interns to assist in group management. Paul’s passion for inclusion is infectious and his energy and enthusiasm has helped many of his fellow trainees feel at home in the BSD. 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary Huggins receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award in recognition of Exceptional DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee and University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC).

Rosemary Huggins is a member of the Cancer Biology Steering Committee and the “Cancer Research Community Building Committee,” formerly known as the Cancer Biology DEI committee. In these roles, Rosie organized many events to serve our diverse research community. She helped organize visits to cultural heritage museums like the DuSable African American History Museum and the Museum of Mexican American Art. She also created a four-episode podcast called Black in Rx which interviewed researchers and DuSable historians about cancer and health care. Rosie was also instrumental in organizing the DEI book nook with Dr. Wei Jen Tang. 

 

 

Lizeth Tamayo receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award in recognition of Exceptional DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

Lizeth is a co-founder of the National Association of LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) Alumni (NALA). LSAMP is an NSF-funded program meant to increase the representation of marginalized groups in science. As a recipient of LSAMP grant, she co-led an initiative to unite all LSAMP alliances across the country to allow past trainees to stay connected and be a resource for current trainees. Lizeth participated in numerous panel discussions hosted by LSAMP that address topics including women in science, imposter syndrome, and the experience of underrepresented students in graduate education. 

Lizeth is also a member of the Graduate Recruit Initiative Team (GRIT). Within GRIT, she co-led an initiative to create a team focused on international and immigrant students. 

Juan Ibarra receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award in recognition of Exceptional DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC) and the UChicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC).

Juan is passionate about playing a leadership role in deconstructing institutionalized forms of racism/exclusion and lending a voice to those who feel marginalized. His personal warmth and ease at advocacy win him committed allies at all levels. In 2021, he served as a mentor for our SHE in Oncology program, and he currently serves as both a peer mentor and advisory committee member for our Chicago EYES on Cancer program.

As student co-chair of the BDC, Juan worked with a small committee to plan and organize the 1st BSD, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice retreat, which provided a space to design collaborative programing and policies to enhance inclusion within the BSD and the greater scientific community. The retreat attracted 200+ faculty and trainees with former U.S. Government Assistant to the Office of Public Engagement, Valerie Jarrett, serving as keynote speaker. 

Juan has also established enduring partnerships between the UChicago BSD and the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Through these, the BDC has launched a series of divisional-wide educational museum visits. Juan currently serves as president of the UChicago chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). He has focused on empowerment through science and cultural identity via a series of conversations led by Latinx leaders across STEM public and private sectors. 

Joash Lake receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award in recognition of Exceptional DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

In addition to his research, Joash has dedicated his time to making science accessible to students of color. He has served as a tutor and mentor to black and brown students in Chicago for nonprofits such as Tutoring Chicago and Target Hope. He also currently serves as the STEM Faculty Lead Lecture for Target Hope, where he teaches over 60 high school students weekly on Saturdays In this role, Joash has also brough UChicago professors to share their research with Target Hope students in areas related to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Microbial Ecology, and Paleontology. Joash also mentors undergraduate researchers through his involvement in the Pritzker SOM's CAMP summer research program. 

Joash has simultaneously held many leadership positions across multiple URM serving student organizations, such as the Black Graduate Coalition. He also contributed to UChicago’s COVID-19 Vaccine Drive where BSD graduate students and medical students partnered with Howard Brown Health to distribute vaccines directly to South Side citizens at their local churches and community centers.

 

 

 

 

 

Kristina Fialko receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commendation in recognition of meaningful DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

Kristina has served as co-facilitator of the E&E DEI committee since its founding in 2020. She has also served as the elected graduate student representative to the department from 2018-2021. In these roles, Kristina established monthly meetings of the student body and led the students in a communal effort to make the graduate student environment more inclusive and welcoming, particularly for those from less advantaged backgrounds. Kristina led the students’ efforts to get E&E to address systemic racial inequality in society as well in her field and graduate program. Under her leadership, the students agreed on and articulated a unified position and a list of proposed action items to the faculty. In her role as the E&E DEI committee leader, Kristina created an organizational model that has allowed the committee to work very efficiently. 

 

 

 

 

Bridget Chak receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commendation in recognition of meaningful DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

Bridget Chak has been tireless in her efforts for international students. She is a co-founder of the BSD Pan-Asian Coalition, a co-organizer of the campus-wide Pan-Asian Resource Group, and she has worked closely with GRIT to establish the Internationals and Immigrants team. Bridget is also co-founding board member of the International Graduate Student Advisory Board, is a founding member of the GGSB DEI committee, and she has worked closely with the Dean’s Office on establishing paid TA positions for international students.

 

 

 

 

Briana Banks receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commendation in recognition of meaningful DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC).

In the 2021-2022 academic year, Briana served as the president of graduate council’s DEI committee. In this role, Briana lead the planning and execution of a year’s worth of D&I programing for the entire campus community. Among the DEI committee’s numerous accomplishments Briana played a critical role in Gradaute Council’s Juneteenth celebrations. She partnered with numerous community organizations like Crossroads and the Dusable Museum to bring in experts to speak to faculty and students about antiracism and African American history. She also created the Dynamic Black Women Speaker Series, which included inviting Dr. Eve Ewing and Valerie Jarrett to participate in fireside chats with all UChicago affiliates. Finally, Brianna created an inclusive pedagogy workshop for UChciago faculty and students by partnering with “Still We Rise” to teach constructive ways to ensure that course material and classroom discussions were inclusive of the diaspora of student experiences, ethnicities, and identities. 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Paracha receives the BSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commendation in recognition of meaningful DEI Leadership and Service from the BSD Diversity Committee (BDC)

Sarah Paracha has been a generational lynch pin in the student DEI organization GRIT working her way up the GRIT leadership structure year by year. Sarah assumed the position of Director during the difficult 2021-2022 year as we relearned how to safely gather in person. Her leadership and adaptation ensured that this critical student support resource not only survived but also expanded its student recruitment activities. As she transitioned out of her director position, Sarah directed a new recruitment initiative where UChicago and GRIT now recruit graduate students directly from five HBCUs and one HIS. 

 

 

 

 

Shreya Ramachandran received the Francis X. Kinahan Memorial Award, which recognizes lectors who have proven exceptional instructors in academic and professional writing. Ramachandran, according to her students was, "super encouraging" with "great comments on what changes might advance our arguments while noting the things that were working effectively in each of our pieces." Ramachandran (Human Genetics)  is researching the evolution of human-associated microbes in Maanasa Raghavan's lab.

The Francis X. Kinahan Award is in honor of Francis Xavier Kinahan, a beloved and legendary English professor at the University of Chicago who passed away suddenly in 1993. Awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1976), Kinahan was faculty director of the University Theater and a Joyce scholar who also helped develop the Little Red Schoolhouse course with Joseph Williams. 

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