Ameera Pearsall, a junior at Alverno College majoring in biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology, has been selected as one of only 15 undergraduate students in the country to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Amgen Scholars Program at NIH is a summer internship for undergraduate students interested in doctoral and combined degree programs in the sciences. The program is a partnership between the Amgen Foundation, the Foundation for the NIH, and the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education. Students selected for the program spend the summer working side-by-side with some of the world’s leading scientists in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. During their internships at NIH, scholars are matched with research mentors in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) and are immersed in the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations.
“I’ve always wanted to do science that improves the quality of life for others,” said Pearsall. “Amgen addresses health disparities in marginalized communities, and that really aligns with my values of diversity, equity and inclusion. To do this work so early in my career is an amazing opportunity.”
Pearsall plans to graduate in December of 2023 and pursue a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Passionate about mental health, Pearsall’s goal is to pursue autism research and explore the long-term effects of various mental health disorders.
On campus, Pearsall volunteers as a peer mentor, works for the Student Activities Board and Alverno food pantry, and is among the first cohort of the Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership, a full-tuition scholarship program for Black undergraduate students with a strong desire to serve as leaders. Off campus, Pearsall tutors high school students, organizes clothing drives and works to raise awareness of the arts in communities lacking access to the arts. Pearsall is also developing a mental health app that aims to connect people in marginalized communities to mental health providers and resources.
In addition to doing full-time research, Amgen Scholars have the opportunity to take part in a customized curriculum that helps them develop communication, career readiness and critical thinking skills. They also participate in a leadership development program. Scholars attend the Amgen Scholars U.S. Symposium, interacting with top industry and academic scientists and networking with other Amgen Scholars, and they present at the NIH Summer Poster Day in August.
About Alverno College
Founded in 1887 by the School Sisters of St. Francis, Alverno College promotes the academic, personal and professional development of its students in a collaborative and inclusive environment. Undergraduate programs for women are offered in more than 60 areas of study, and graduate programs in education, nursing, community psychology, school psychology, music therapy, music and liturgy, and business are open to women and men.
A leader in higher education innovation, Alverno has earned international accolades for its highly effective ability-based, assessment-as-learning approach to education, which emphasizes hands-on experience and develops in-demand skills. The college, Wisconsin’s first Hispanic-Serving Institution, ranks among the top schools in the Midwest for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and innovation by U.S. News & World Report. For two years, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education named Alverno the country’s most inspiring college.
Based in Milwaukee, Wis., Alverno College is a four-year independent, Catholic, liberal arts college.