Press Release January 13, 2022

2021 JAX College Scholarship Recipients Announced

2021 College Scholarship Program Winners
2021 JAX College Scholarship Program (L to R): Kelsey Nihezagirwe of Westbrook, Maine; Damarisly Arriola of Sacramento, California; and HughDante Morant of East Hartford, Connecticut. 

Annual Scholarship recognizes students from underserved backgrounds pursuing careers in life sciences and health care.

The Jackson Laboratory is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2021 JAX College Scholarship Program: Kelsey Nihezagirwe of Westbrook Maine; HughDante Morant of East Hartford, Conn.; and Damarisly Arriola of Sacramento, Calif.

The annual award provides $10,000 scholarships to students in Maine, Connecticut, and California from underserved backgrounds who will pursue a college degree and aspire to a career in biomedicine. In addition to the financial award, JAX facilitates internship opportunities and campus visits for the recipients throughout their college career.

“The JAX Genomic Education team encourages, trains, and enthusiastically supports bright students who plan to enter STEM careers,” said  Charlie Wray, Ph.D. , vice president of education. “Congratulations to Damarisly, HughDante and Kelsey on receiving the JAX College Scholarship Award. We wish them luck throughout their higher education journeys.”

2021 Maine JAX College Scholarship awardee: Kelsey Nihezagirwe, Westbrook

Nihezagirwe is a first-year student studying bioengineering at Northeastern University. She plans to pursue a career as a pharmacologist and is particularly interested in exploring how technology can increase the effectiveness of medicine, as well as the issue of the underrepresentation of minorities in clinical trials. In her application, she said that she hopes to make an impact in health care and medicine “by doing novel research which will generate new solutions to disease.” Nihezagirwe, from Westbrook, Maine, is a graduate of Yarmouth High School where the College Board recognized her as an AP Scholar in her junior year.

2021 Connecticut JAX College Scholarship awardee: HughDante Morant, East Hartford

Morant is studying biology at the University of Connecticut. A first-year student, his dream is to become an orthopedic surgeon. Morant wrote in his application that he hopes to one day address inequity in the health care system, and also “make the fastest recovery mechanisms for athletes to get back on the floor and play the sport they love.” He is from East Hartford and graduated from the Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies. Morant received many accolades in his high school career, including the Harvard Book Prize his junior year, which awards a student who displays excellence in scholarship and high character.

2021 California JAX College Scholarship awardee: Damarisly Arriola, Sacramento

Arriola is a first-year biology major at Chico State University. She plans to one day have a career in research, studying immunology or genetics. She is fascinated by precision medicine and nanotechnology and is inspired to make medications easily available to everyone who needs them. “My overall goal is to research medicine that is more effective and less costly to make it more accessible to those who are not able to afford it,” she wrote in her application. Arriola is from Sacramento and graduated from Pleasant Grove High School, where she earned life membership to the California Scholarship Federation.

The Jackson Laboratory College Scholarship Program

To date, the JAX College Scholarship Program has awarded $110,000 in scholarships to students from underserved backgrounds in Connecticut, Maine, and Sacramento County, California. This program supports students whose goals align with JAX’s mission to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and is aligned with the Genomic Education team’s mission to create diverse and inclusive educational programs where students feel valued and empowered.

JAX Genomic Education’s initiatives aim is to ignite the passion of future scientists, advance careers, and inform the general public about the unfolding promise of genetics and genomics. In addition to the JAX College Scholarship Program, the Genomic Education team hosts and sponsors the Summer Student ProgramTeaching the Genome GenerationMaine State Science Fair, STEM Open Houses in Maine and Connecticut, and more.

About The Jackson Laboratory

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution with a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and nearly 3,000 employees in locations across the United States (Maine, Connecticut, California) and Japan, as well as a joint venture in China. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. For more information, please visit www.jax.org.