Cal State L.A. Student Awarded
Los Angeles, CA - California State University, Los Angeles senior Leana Wen is one of only 51 students nationwide selected to receive the $7,000 National Graduate Fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, funded by a James R. Slater Fellowship. She was recently honored at the Cal State L.A. chapter's annual installation and awards banquet, at which more than 100 of Cal State L.A.'s top students were inducted.
This is the third year that a Cal State L.A. student has been awarded a national Phi Kappa Phi graduate fellowship. Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest and largest academic honor society in the nation open to students in all academic disciplines.
Leana Wen has already been presented with eight full scholarships to M.D./Ph.D. programs upon graduation-Weill College of Medicine at Cornell University/Rockefeller University/Sloan-Kettering Institute; Stanford School of Medicine; UCSD; Baylor College of Medicine; Vanderbilt University; Duke University Medical School; Washington University in St. Louis; and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Wen will graduate from Cal State L.A. this June with a B.S. in biochemistry with honors from her department and the General Education Honors Program and a near-perfect 3.958 cumulative grade point average. She will be eighteen.
"My goal," says Wen, "is to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. leading to a career in academic medicine, biomedical research combined with medical practice and teaching." Leana's MCAT scores for admission to medical school were in the 99th percentile-an achievement so noteworthy she has been asked, and has begun, to teach for Kaplan, Inc., the leading company in test preparation.
In 1996, Wen entered the University as a thirteen-year-old through the Early Entrance Program for exceptionally gifted students. From 1996-98, she participated as a research trainee in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biomedical Professional Development Program. In her junior year, she was selected as one of the University's first four Beckman Research Scholars, part of a prestigious national program funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Because of her potential and proven ability for biomedical research, in the summer of 2000, Wen was selected as part of the National Institute of Health Fogarty Program-funded Minority International Research Training Program to serve as a research assistant at the Glycobiology Institute at Oxford University.
On the National Dean's list since 1997, Wen is listed in Who's Who Among American College Students 2001, was a 2000 United States Achievement Academy All-American Scholar, received the University's 2000 Eagle Pride Award for community service (the University's recent replacement for Homecoming Queen award), and was 2001 General Education Honors Program Student of the Year.
A natural leader, she has been active in student government on many levels, served as the elected representative of the School of Natural and Social Sciences for Associated Students, Inc. (student government) in 1999-2000 and the Student Vice-President of the campus chapter of The National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi that same year. She has taught and mentored students as part of the Minority Science Program (1997-1999) and Science, Engineering and Math Summer Bridge (1997) programs.
With seemingly boundless energy, she also initiated and coordinated the University's first and second Annual Blood and Bone Marrow Drives and served on many committees including the University's Student Health Advisory Committee. In 1998, she founded and became president of Cal State L.A.'s American Medical Student Association Premedical Chapter, and brought together more than 100 premedical students to coordinate various community service initiatives. In addition to her campus involvements, Wen has volunteered extensively at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, Methodist Hospital of Arcadia and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center for more than four years.
Even as an undergraduate, Wen has already successfully presented her research at more than a dozen conferences. Cal State L.A. Chemistry professor Donald Paulson, her research adviser with whom she has worked for four years, calls her "the clear leader of my research group," noting that she has "progressed more rapidly than any student, graduate or undergraduate, that I have ever had working on a ruthenium protein problem." Says Paulson, "Leana is one of the top five students that I have had the pleasure of directing in undergraduate research over the past 30 years."
For more information on the Phi Kappa Phi fellowship, call Beverly Krilowicz, professor of Biology and Microbiology at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-2064.
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