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APS names 2 minority outreach fellows

BETHESDA, Md. (March 25, 2008) The American Physiological Society (APS; announced today that it has awarded its 2008 Minority Outreach Fellowships to TanYa Gwathmey and Kesia Mathis. This is the third year of the award program.

Dr. Gwathmey, an African-American, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Hypertension and Vascular Research Center at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. There she studies the impact of fetal programming on hypertension and cardiovascular physiology, motivated by her concern of the health disparity that exists in the African-American population with regard to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Gwathmey plans to become an independent researcher, seeking a faculty position at an institution of higher learning where she can further study the mechanism(s) underlying the development of hypertension and renal injury, with particular emphasis on the effects on reproductive function. Dr. Gwathmey is a graduate of Hampton University (BS in Molecular Biology), has her Masters degree in Endocrinology and Reproductive Biology from the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and obtained her doctorate in Reproductive Physiology from Cornell University.

Ms. Mathis, an African-American, is a third-year pre-doctoral candidate in the Department of Physiology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Her research focuses on the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune impact of alcohol on the outcome from trauma and hemorrhagic shock. Mathis plans to continue her research and career by first becoming a post-doc, then by establishing a laboratory of her own. Mathis long-term goal is to reach full professorship and tenure in academia. She has a BS in Physics from Southern University (2001), a MS in Applied Physics from Purdue University (2003) and a MS in Physiology from LSU Health Sciences Center (2005).

Education and Role Modeling for Young Minorities in Science

As APS K-12 Minority Outreach Fellows, the women will visit K-12 classrooms to talk about their career paths and to serve as role models for other minority students. In addition the Fellows will:

  • Conduct outreach activities for high school teachers and students at the APS annual meeting, held as part of the Experimental Biology (EB) 2008 (and EB09) conference.

  • Serve as a Physiologist-in-Residence at the APS Science Teaching Forum, a week of hands-on science training for middle school and high school teachers.

  • Visit K-12 minority student classrooms in their home towns during the 2008-2009 school year to deliver career presentations and lead hands-on physiology activities. They will also encourage pre-college minority students who are underrepresented in science African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders to think about becoming biomedical researchers.

  • Represent the APS at the national Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), a national conference designed to facilitate increased minority involvement in biomedical and behavioral science careers. The Fellows will present APS awards to undergraduate students for best oral and poster presentations in the physiological sciences during the conference.

  • Represent the APS at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) national conference, designed to engage participants from all scientific fields in discourse on a specific science-focused theme, and

  • Reach out to a local school near their institution to participate in PhUn (Physiology Understanding) Week (program details at in the fall.

The fellowship covers conference registration fees and travel expenses for these and other events.

Marsha Lakes Matyas, Ph.D., the APS director of education, said The Fellowship has proven to be a powerful outreach catalyst of career support and development. K-12 students are excited to learn about the function of the human body from a young, enthusiastic researcher. And the Fellows gain experience and confidence in their outreach skills as well as a new passion for helping others learn about physiology.


Contact: Brooke Bruthers
American Physiological Society

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