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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

Carolina Scholars

Jade Ikahihifo-Bender

Thomas B. Pearce Carolina Scholar 
Carolina Forest High School
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

My research experiences at UofSC and the NIH and my medical brigade trips to Colombia and Ecuador showed me the value of a well-rounded approach to healthcare that incorporates not only science but also the social determinants of health. 

Impactful experience: 
Some of my most impactful experiences as an undergraduate student have been conducting research in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UofSC as well as in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. My favorite part about my research experience has been connecting with others and establishing a support system. I have been working with my research group at UofSC since I was a freshman, and they have become an integral part of my undergraduate life. When I was conducting research at the NIH during the Spring 2020 South Carolina Washington Semester Program, I met people from all over the world who taught me about pertinent infectious disease research and various career paths in the research industry. 

Enjoy most as a TS: 
My favorite part about being a Top Scholar is having a community that encourages me personally and academically. 

The Spring 2020 South Carolina Washington Semester Program taught me that essential growth and learning can stem from unexpected experiences. As I expected, I increased my understanding of the molecular mechanisms and clinical aspects of disease through my research internship in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. To my surprise, I improved my understanding of sociocultural and economic issues that can affect health outcomes and attitudes toward healthcare through my theatre and policy courses. I identified a connection between these experiences, which I initially thought were unrelated. Research has implications for the development of medications and therapies, but these implications are most productive when determinants of health that affect accessibility and sustainability for patient use are considered. 

Post-graduate plans: 
Jade will conduct hepatology clinical research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for the next two years, and after plans to attend medical school there.

Career goals/professional aspirations: 
I aspire to address health inequities with a career in medicine. Before attending medical school, I would like to study and work in the fields of epidemiology and global health. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.