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J2 Scholarship

Merit based scholarship award for full time undergraduates students of high academic standing with unmet financial need in the Natural Sciences.  Awards up to $11,500.

Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Mathematics and Computer Science

Merit based scholarship award to full time undergraduate students who have declared a major in mathematics and computer science at Purchase College.  Preference will be given to students with high academic standing of a GPA of 3.50 or higher. Awards up to $10,000. 

Summer Tech Scholarship

Scholarship award to full time undergraduate students with a major or minor in computer science. Preference will be given to students who integrate their study of computer science with film, music, or visual art. Awards up to $3,500.

MARC U*STAR Honors Program

Honors Recipients

The Purchase College Maximizing Access to Research Careers/Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) Honors Program is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences/National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH).

The program supports academically talented students from groups underrepresented in STEM who intend to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD.

Support and Training in the Junior and Senior Years

  • Tuition, fees, and health insurance
  • $1,000 per month stipend
  • 4 semesters of research at Purchase College
  • 10-week national summer research experience 
  • Attendance at scientific conferences
  • Bi-weekly program seminars

Meet Our Students 

Paola Cruz-Martinez

Paola Cruz-Martinez

I am currently a Senior majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Biology. During the Fall 2020 semester, I worked on a project with Dr. Allyson Jackson focusing on the interactions between wildlife and invasive plant species using trail cameras. In Spring 2021,conducted ahistorical report analysis with Dr. Erika Ebbs on the origin and distribution of the snail species Radix auricularia across North America. For this study, I reviewed scientific reports of R. auricularia across North America and around the globe to better understand its current and historical distribution. This summer, I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) and carried outa study with Dr. Aimee Classen on the effects of altered nutrient inputs on vegetation species richness and biomass. This project was done under the long-term Detrital Inputs and Removal Project at UMBS and looked at the vegetation that is removed yearly to identify the effects these treatments have on species richness and biomass. I am currently a Learning Assistant for the course Wildlife Toxicology. I am also beginning my senior project with Dr. George Kraemer on the abundance of microplastics in the intertidal zone of Orchard Beach in the Bronx, NY. In the future I plan to pursue a PhD in Ecology. My fields of interest include ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology, and invasive species.


Anjelina King

Anjelina King

I am a senior biology major. In Spring 2020, I graduated from Ulster County Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Math and Science and was a Phi Theta Kappa member. I participated in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program in 2019, where I worked in Dr. George Kraemer’s lab from Environmental Studies. Our project focused on factors aiding the success of Hemigrapsus sanguineus, an invasive crab species, on Long Island Sound. When I returned to Ulster, I was offered an Independent Study to follow-up on this research. In the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, I worked in Dr. Mark Jonas’s lab. We examined the genetics and epigenetics of adaptation to climate change in plants. Over the summer, I worked in the NYS Department of Health on the regulation of downstream genes by leaderless small open reading frames in Mycobacterium smegmatis. For my senior project, I am working with Dr. Elliott Abrams. We are studying the functional role of the brambleberry homolog GEX1 in Tetrahymena thermophila. This study uses homologous recombination to knock out GEX1 in Tetrahymena to understand its function in pronuclear fusion. My goal is to graduate with a bachelor’s in biology and to pursue a PhD in genetics.

Diego Ospina Arias

Diego Ospina Arias

I am a member of the MARC U*STAR Honors program and a senior biology major. My interests are in the fields of genomics, epigenomics, and developmental biology. During the Spring semester of 2020, I was a learning assistant for Cell Biology. Currently, I am President of the Pre-Med Club. In 2020 I analyzed epigenetic changes in Arabidopsis thaliana grown in elevated CO2.The goal of the project was to identify potentially heritable methylation hotspots that are influenced by elevated CO2. In the summer of 2021, I had the privilege of participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at Scripps in Florida. Along with my Primary Investigator Dr. Matthew Pipkin and my mentor Adam Getzler, I studied the effects of interleukin 18 in the expression of Killer Cell Lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG-1) on effector T-cells. The objective of this project was to create a protocol to promote KLRG-1 in vitro to study the epigenetic mechanisms leading to effector cell or memory cells. This work represented an important step toward creating more effective vaccines. I plan to pursue a MD/PhD and to explore the interplay between genes and the environment in shaping human disease, with the goal of finding preventative treatments for diabetes and obesity. 


Amanda Salmoiraghi

Amanda Salmoiraghi

I am currently a senior pursuing a BA in Biology. I transferred to Purchase after participating in the summer 2020 Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. During the program, I worked with Dr. Elliot Abrams to identify functional domains within homologs of the Brambleberry protein, originally found in zebrafish, and other related proteins using comparative genomics. In the 2020-21 academic year, I continued to work with Dr. Abrams to further understand the structural organization of functional domains within Brambleberry homologs. I found that the avian Brambleberry homolog differs in its structural organization compared to the sequence found in zebrafish. I participated in the 2020 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students(ABRCMS), and the2021 SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference. At both conferences, I presented the research I conducted with Dr. Abrams.

During summer of 2021, I participated in the REU program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and conducted research with Dr. Jan McDowell and Ellen Biesack, MS. I investigated relatedness among young-of-year striped bass in the Rappahannock River of Chesapeake Bay by using microsatellite markers. I will present my research at the 2022 ABRCMS conference in November, and at the Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) in February of 2022. I have also received funding from the Association of the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Multicultural Program (ASLOMP) to present my work at OSM. After I graduate from Purchase, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in the biological sciences. My interests lie in marine science, comparative anatomy, and genetics. As a MARC U*STAR Scholar, I am excited to expand my knowledge and gain exposure in different areas of research.

Meet Our Graduates 

Jorge Acuna

Jorge Acuna

I am a senior biology major. I received my associate’s degree from Rockland Community College (RCC) where I was vice president of my chapter of the beta beta beta Biological Honor Society. After my bacteriophage research experience with Dr. James Daly in the Purchase College Bridges Program, I used two new bacterial research models using M. marinum and M. aeruginosa with my colleagues at RCC. My M. marinum research focused on a fish pathogen related to M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis and my M. aeruginosa research focused on cyanobacterial blooms. Last year, I worked with Dr. Daly to continue research on bacteriophages and Renibacterium salmoninarum, a fish pathogen that causes bacterial kidney disease. This past summer I participated in the Summer Undergraduate Internship Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where I conducted research on detecting mouse hepatitis virus RNA in infected macrophages. This year, I am working with Dr. Elliott Abrams studying molecular processes functioning during early development using Tetrahymena thermophila. After graduating from Purchase, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Virology.

Elizabeth Bardwil-Lugones

Elizabeth Bardwil-Lugones I am a senior pursuing a degree in Biology. I began my academic career at Westchester Community College (WCC) and received my associate’s degree in Engineering Science and Liberal Arts, Math, and Science in 2019. At WCC, I engaged in leadership and service through several campus organizations. In the summer of 2019, I attended the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at Purchase College, where I tested the antifungal properties of sage and a derivative of curcumin. In the same year, I presented my findings and received an award for my research poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). During my first year in the MARC U*STAR Honors Program, I worked with Dr. Stephen Harris investigating the transmission of pathogens between rats and rat traders from wet markets in An Giang, Vietnam. The purpose of this research was to inform methods in the detection and surveillance of potential zoonotic pathogens. This summer, I worked with Dr. Paul J. Planet and Dr. Ahmed M. Moustafa through the virtual Summer Undergraduate Internship Program at the University of Pennsylvania. I used a Python3-based command-line application called Gene Novelty Unit-based Virus IDentification (GNUVID) to type SARS-CoV-2 genomes. The purpose of this research was to utilize GNUVID to characterize genomic diversity among isolates collected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2020, I will present the results of my summer research at ABRCMS: The Virtual Experience. Currently I am working with Dr. Mark Jonas, investigating the epigenetic basis of plant-pathogen interactions in the context of climate change. Specifically, we are studying the interplay between cytosine methylation and elevated carbon dioxide in shaping plant susceptibility to pathogens. Once I receive my bachelor’s degree in Spring 2021, I plan to further my research experience and pursue a terminal degree through a medical scientist training program.

Jordan Billups 

Jordan Billups's Headshot I am a senior math/computer science major and I am interested in the intersection of computer science and biology. This past summer I participated in the Rosetta Commons REU at Northeastern University. As part of the internship, I added features to a puzzle-based human computation game which leverages human problem solving skills to predict protein structures and even design new proteins. In particular, my research focused on encouraging players to explore a broader range of possible puzzle solutions and, hopefully, generate more diverse structure predictions. I will be giving a poster presentation based the  results of that research at ABRCMS in November and intend to continue the work for my senior project. 
After graduating from Purchase College I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in bioinformatics.  

Mennefer Blue

Mennefer Blue I am a senior psychology major. I am currently a learning assistant for Research Methods I, a tutor at the Einstein Corner, and the president of the Psychology Club. Last year, I worked with Dr. Yanine Hess on a research project focused on intrapersonal and interpersonal responses to social rejection. This past summer I worked at the University of Michigan in Dr. Ethan Kross’s lab on a research project focusing on how knowledge about the duration of a painful or unpleasant experience can affect emotions during such experience. I am currently working on my senior thesis with Dr. Christopher Williams, examining the cognitive underpinnings of individuals’ objectification of sexualized women. I am also investigating the correlation between this tendency and predictors of sexual violence. My interests include understanding the causes of sexual violence and developing appropriate interventions to reduce it. After graduation, I plan to gain an international perspective on these issues in a lab abroad and then return to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology.

 Pamela Grigas

Pamela Grigas's headshot I am a senior psychology major and a MARC U*STAR scholar. This summer I was a research assistant at Columbia University and worked with my faculty mentor Dr. Van C. Tran on a project about gentrification and psychological well-being. This fall I am beginning my senior project with the guidance of my faculty advisor Dr. Krystal Perkins. My work will focus on racial stress and mental health/well-being. In addition, I am currently a teaching assistant for Research Methods I. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to complete a Ph.D. in social or clinical psychology and study racial and ethnic differences in terms of racialized experiences, mental health, and health disparities.​ 


Sarah Ann King 

Sarah Ann King's Headshot I am a third year biology major. I began college at Nassau Community College. I have had an interest in biology and biological technology for as long as I can remember.  I am currently conducting research on the interactions of the antimicrobial peptide Maximin-3 and manufactured lipid membranes, under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Middleton. I serve as a peer tutor for General Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Statistics. Following the completion of my bachelor’s degree, I will pursue a doctoral degree and research career in regenerative medicine.


Angelique Malcolm

Angelique Malcolm I am a senior majoring in Biochemistry. I came to Purchase College after completing its Bridges to the Baccalaureate summer research program. I worked with Dr. Mark Jonas researching how genome-wide methylation affects responses to elevated carbon dioxide in the model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. During my first year in the MARC U*STAR Honors Program, I worked with Dr. Elliot Abrams comparing various genotyping techniques for zebrafish mutants. The purpose of this research was to investigate a novel gene, brambleberry, and offer insights to other researchers about several PCR-based genotyping strategies. This past summer, I worked in Dr. James R. Alfano’s lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln investigating the involvement of Arabidopsis MAP65s in plant immunity against Pseudomonas syringae. For my senior year, I will continue my research with Dr. Elliot Abrams, creating CRISPR-Cas9 knockouts brambleberry-related zebrafish. After receiving a bachelor’s degree at Purchase College, I plan to pursue a Ph.D in Biochemistry.    

Jennifer Paulino

Jennifer Paulino I am a senior biology major. I graduated with my associate’s degree in Mathematics and Science with a concentration in Health Science from Westchester Community College, where I was also a Phi Theta Kappa member. My first research experience began in 2018 when I participated in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program in Dr. James Daly’s lab, where I worked with the bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida. We investigated the S layer of this bacterium and its role in the formation of biofilm. In the summer of 2019, I participated in the Summer Research Undergraduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh in Dr. Penelope Morel’s lab. My project focused on identifying where AKT phosphorylates hnRNP L in the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, a factor important in T regulatory cell differentiation. During my junior year I worked in Dr. Stephen Harris’s lab. My project used metagenomics to characterize host-pathogen interactions. We used two databases: a microbial database with all viral, fungal, and protozoan sequences from NCBI and a human pathogen database with all viral, bacterial, fungal, and eukaryotic sequences from organisms pathogenic for humans. Then we downloaded and used a stand alone version of BLAST software to compare and analyze our reads to the databases. I am currently a learning assistant for Organic Chemistry and working towards my senior thesis project with Dr. James Daly. We are investigating protein expression in the bacterium Renibacterium salmoninarum when grown in serum and serum-free media. My future goals are to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in biology and pursue an MD/PhD. My fields of interest are the human gut microbiome, the gut-brain axis, microbiology, and immunology.

Lina Ruiz 

Lina Ruiz

I am a third-year biology major. My fields of interest are evolution and genomics. I am working with Dr. Mark Jonas, investigating how changes in genome-wide methylation affect responses to elevated carbon dioxide in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This past summer I participated in the Amgen Scholar Program at UC Berkeley, where I conducted research on phage-mediated protection against Pseudomonas syringae in tomato plants. Currently I am a Learning Assistant for General Biology I Lab. After graduating from Purchase College, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology.