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Rochester student selected as Whitaker International Fellow

June 25, 2014

Amanda Chen ’14

University of Rochester student Amanda Chen ’14 has been selected to participate in the 2014-15 Whitaker International Fellows program. The program sends young biomedical engineers anywhere outside the United States or Canada to pursue academic or scientific research, or engage in career-related internships at institutes or nonprofits. Fifty Whitaker pre-doctoral fellowships and post-doctoral scholarships were awarded this year. One of three Rochester winners, Chen will use her fellowship to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge in the UK.  She is the fifth Rochester undergraduate to garner the Whitaker since 2011.

This year, Chen also was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Upon completion of her master’s degree in Cambridge, England, she intends to relocate to Cambridge, Mass., to enroll in MIT’s biological engineering doctoral program and will use the NSF fellowship to offset the cost of her education.

A native of Danville, Calif., Chen earned a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering with a minor in chemical engineering this May, graduating summa cum laude. Her impressive academic credentials also include being named a 2013-14 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. In 2012, she also was selected to participate in the German Academic Exchange Service-Research Internships in Science & Engineering (DAAD-RISE) program. Through the internship, she spent the summer working in Bremen, Germany, conducting research on the development of boron lipid-containing liposomes as carriers for therapeutic drug delivery and gene therapy at Jacobs University in Professor Detlef Gabel’s lab. While in Germany, Chen was selected to give a presentation on her research at the DAAD-RISE Alumni & Scholars Conference in Dresden.

Chen’s first experience in a laboratory setting was as a research assistant in Professor Jack Werren’s Lab. Additionally, she participated in an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Clemson University in summer 2011, where she researched electrochemical properties of polymer ultra-capacitors in Professor Mark Roberts’ Lab. At Rochester, Chen has also spent the last three years working in Professor Danielle Benoit’s lab, where she studies therapeutic biomaterials. She also served as a lab teaching assistant for Benoit and Professor Stephen McAleavey, hosting weekly lab sessions and helping her peers learn basic biomaterials lab techniques and prepare equipment and materials.

An active member of Rochester’s student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Chen gave a platform presentation on her research at the organization’s national conference in 2012 and presented a poster at the 2013 conference. She served as the chapter’s secretary, while holding a leadership position as president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. Chen also was given the Outstanding Junior Award and Outstanding Senior Award by the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which recognizes academic excellence and achievement. She was also given the BME Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in 2014 and was elected to Alpha Eta Mu Beta and the Order of the Engineer.

Outside of the lab, Chen is a workshop leader for chemistry and biomedical engineering classes. Chen also has advanced her study of the oboe through lessons at the Eastman School of Music and participation in the River Campus Symphony Orchestra; in fall 2011, she won the River Campus Concerto Competition.

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Category: Campus Life