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Alyssa Picchini ’04 is one of a handful of students worldwide to be awarded a National Institutes of Health-Cambridge University Scholarship in Biomedical Research.

A neuroscience graduate, Picchini is currently serving a yearlong post-baccalaureate fellowship at NIH in the Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology at Columbia University.

Picchini is the latest in a long list of recent Lafayette recipients of prestigious national and international scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and post-graduate study. For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, assistant dean of studies, (610) 330-5521. See also the latest edition of Aristeia, which showcases the achievements and reflections of outstanding current and recent Lafayette students who represent the growing number of students at the College pursuing both academic excellence and engagement with civic life and social justice.

Up to six new students are selected for the NIH-Cambridge program each year on the basis of academic excellence, sophistication of their scientific background, and commitment to research. The award provides in excess of $200,000 in support for students to carry out research as a full-time student at Cambridge and NIH in pursuit of a doctoral degree, from Cambridge, in any area of biomedical science they choose.

“This scholarship is the premier biomedical sciences academic award through which students carry out international collaborative biomedical research. Affiliated with the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, it is designed to provide the most talented biomedical science students with an accelerated path to their doctorate in settings where they will have access to the most advanced facilities and interdisciplinary training experiences,” said Michael J. Lenardo, director of the NIH-Cambridge Scholarship program.

Picchini is one of four members of the class of 2004 to be awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, the premier national undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Elizabeth Ponder is now pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. A biochemistry graduate with a second, individualized major in cultural biomedicine, she was recently awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Alison Campbell, also a biochemistry graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NSF recognized Campbell with honorable mention in the graduate fellowship competition in each of the last two years. Meghan Ramsey, a neuroscience graduate, is pursuing an M.D. at Stanford’s medical school.

Picchini collaborated with Wendy L. Hill, Rappolt Professor in Neuroscience, on two EXCEL research projects dealing with hormones and their effect on the behavior of both humans and animals.

“Professor Hill is an amazing teacher and mentor. I really like her approach to research and the freedom she gives me to explore the questions I have about the projects we are working on,” Picchini said while working with Hill. “Lafayette’s academic program is giving me a strong foundation in the sciences along with the tools I need to achieve my professional goals. EXCEL has provided me with a chance to conduct laboratory research that most undergraduates are not given. I look forward to earning my doctorate and conducting my own research.”

In the EXCEL Scholars program students conduct research with faculty while earning a stipend. The program has helped to make Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the more than 160 students who participate each year share their work through articles in academic journals and/or conference presentations.

As a senior Picchini received the William C. Rappolt ’67 and Walter Oechsle ’57 Neuroscience Prize, awarded each year to outstanding seniors based on scholarship in the classroom and laboratory and service to the major, college, or community.

Picchini was an orientation leader, peer tutor, and children’s tutor. She participated in varsity track and field and held leadership roles in her sorority, Delta Gamma.

Categorized in: Academic News