September 29, 2017
Our second featured Ambassador of the week is Shakirah Ssebyala.
Shakirah is a third-year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology student on the pre-medical track. It was in her Intro to Biology class with Professor Randy Phillis that her interest in molecular biology was first sparked; “The way he taught the minimal cancer genetics we looked at and the pathways we studied made me realize that this is it”.
Shakirah also works with Dr. Joseph Jerry in his breast cancer research lab where they study the roles of p53, a tumor suppressor protein, and estrogen in the development of breast cancer. This past summer, she participated in a summer program at the NYU School of Medicine studying the most common yet deadly ovarian cancer subtype, the high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.
“Doing research in cancer has opened my eyes and mind to so much; learning more about this devastating disease and trying to find better ways to diagnose and treat it”. This opportunity allowed her to present her work for the first time in a talk at the Leadership Alliance National Conference at the end of the summer. Shakira’s future goal is to become a trauma surgeon.In addition to her affinity for the sciences, Shakirah plays intramural volleyball here at UMass and sometimes with the UMass women's volleyball club. She is also part of Delta Xi Phi, a multicultural sorority, which allows her to be active in multiculturalism and giving back to the community. On top of that, she is a member of the Red Cross Club and much more!!Her most recent accomplishment of note is getting a research poster presentation accepted to conference in Arizona. She even received a travel scholarship! Shakirah, we wish you the best of luck in Arizona. But, of course, you’ve already demonstrated that you don’t need luck!