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Five NCCU students who self-identify as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander were invited to participate in the inaugural session from May 16-July 22, 2022.

The two-year program provides undergraduate students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in biomedical research the opportunity to participate in summer internship experiences with a focus on clinical cancer research. The aim of the BOW Internship is to recruit and cultivate the career development of promising underrepresented students who may form the next generation of our national oncology workforce.

Kaitlann Clanton, Imani Davis, Arianna Delts, Chrystal Feliz-Guzman, and Cristian Rodriguez each spent ten weeks at UNC Lineberger gaining first-hand experience in interdisciplinary cancer research and developing their knowledge of the broadness of oncology careers.

Meet the Cohort

Headshot of Kaitlann ClantonKaitlann Clanton is a junior at NCCU. After she graduates, she will enter a nursing program. Kaitlann wants to be a nurse.

Headshot of Imani DavisImani Davis is a senior at NCCU. After she graduates, she wants to be a physical therapist.

Headshot of Arianna DeltsArianna Delts is a junior at NCCU. She is currently seeking opportunities to gain clinical experience. After graduation, she will be attending A.T. Still University in the ATSU-ASHS Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) Program.

Headshot of Chrystal Feliz-GuzmanChrystal Feliz-Guzman is a junior at NCCU. Once she graduates, she will be attending a PA school to get her masters and become a Physician Assistant specializing in Aesthetics or Gynecology.

Headshot of Cristian RodriguezCristian Rodriguez a senior at NCCU and is currently working on a Dual Accelerated program (BS + MS) in Pharmaceutical Science. He will be graduating with a BS in Pharmaceutical Science with a minor in Biology in the Spring of 2023. He also plans to graduate with a MS in Pharmaceutical Science by December of 2023. He currently works with Dr. Yang at NCCU and begin preparations on working on his thesis. Cristian also plans to continue doing research once he graduates.

Summer 2022 Session Recap

The BOW participants were joined by interns from the Partners Research Educational Program: Monique Dacanay, Alejandra Jaramillo, and Samuel Song, also NCCU students.

Representing another collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill and NCCU, the Partners Research Educational Program aims to provide educational training opportunities for undergraduate students who are interested in a career in cancer health disparities.

Attending an AACR Conference

Capping off their first summer, the interns had the privilege of attending the 15th American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, which was held in Philadelphia, PA.

Aryana Daye, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, currently working as a research assistant to Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN, assisted with the coordination of the program, trip, and intern pre- and post-surveys.

“I had the opportunity to be a part of this program and attend the AACR Conference with the interns, and it was amazing to watch them blossom. They made connections and became reassured about what they wanted to do in the future, right before my eyes. This opportunity also helped me to gain more knowledge about cancer research, and I too, made connections, which will help me throughout my career and research.”

Aryana Daye

The memorable trip was made possible by a generous donation and support from UNC’s Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP).

Saying ‘thanks’

Aryana coordinated with the interns to create a thank you video to GMaP’s Stephanie Wheeler, PhD, MPH, and Anissa Vines, PhD, for their support in helping fund the trip to the AACR Conference.

A highlight of the conference occurred when the interns had the opportunity to connect with K. Sean Kimbro, PhD, a professor at NCCU and co-chair for the AACR Conference.

Kimbro’s philosophy of drug discovery by introducing the idea of ancestry and unnatural selection occurring specifically within the African American community through the African diaspora resonated strongly with the interns, who excitedly discussed future opportunities for collaboration with him. Kimbro, who conducts research at NCCU, is partnering with the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) to promote the study of nutrition and obesity by minority students.

“This collaboration reflects an ongoing effort to combat obesity and better understand the nutritional needs of underserved populations with cultural sensitivity while broadening the diversity of research teams,” Kimbro said.

After the conference, the interns had time for a little sightseeing around historic Philadelphia: visiting the Liberty Bell, Independence Visitor Center, and Independence Square.