UT Health San Antonio’s new Presidential Ambassador Scholars for 2021 were officially recognized by President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, at a small luncheon on May 14 in the Academic and Administration Building. Typically held with a reception and guest speakers, this year’s meeting was scaled down due to continuing COVID-19 safety precautions.
Dr. Henrich presented each student with their medals and recognized their achievements.
“This recognition is a well-deserved honor,” Dr. Henrich said. “It is apparent that your efforts have been noticed by the deans who have chosen you for this significant award. You have been selected because you are excellent student leaders, and we are confident that you will be outstanding representatives of your school and UT Health San Antonio.”
The five scholars, one from each school in the university, are: Kelsey Kohler, Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine; Ashley Braddom, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Katherine Cermin, BSN, RN, School of Nursing; Savannah “Nemo” Muñoz, School of Health Professions; and Kristi Morris, School of Dentistry.
Each ambassador is awarded a $5,000 scholarship. The ambassadors represent the student body and the university at numerous events throughout the year.
Below is a Q & A with our GSBS Ambassador Scholar Ashley Braddom
1) Tell me about yourself and a bit of what you are doing at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio?
I am a third-year graduate student in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program. My main interest is in infectious diseases and how they interact with the immune system. Here at UT Health San Antonio, I am conducting my dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Evelien Bunnik. This lab focuses on understanding how individuals develop immunological protection from malaria which is caused by parasites of the Plasmodium. My project aims to understand how gene regulation changes as the parasite moves through its lifecycle within the human host.
2) What does being a presidential ambassador scholar mean to you?
It’s an honor to be selected as the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ ambassador and to have this opportunity to engage with the community to promote science learning and community health. UT Health San Antonio is dedicated to improving health care quality and as a representative of the GSBS, I hope to highlight the hard work and dedication of the science community here while also communicating to the larger community the importance of basic research to health care advances.
3) What are you most looking forward to as an ambassador?
The GSBS is a fantastic community doing cutting edge research, and I am excited by the opportunity to represent and promote this school through my role as an ambassador. I am most looking forward to the opportunities to engage with the community throughout this ambassadorship. I am excited to interact with individuals outside of UT Health San Antonio to increase awareness in the community of the exceptional research being conducted at this university. In today’s world, community involvement and understanding of science is crucial, which is why I am thrilled to have opportunities through this ambassadorship to communicate with the San Antonio community about the research being done within the GSBS.
I am also looking forward to engaging with members of the university from the other UT Health San Antonio schools. Science is interdisciplinary by nature, and I am excited to foster connections between the schools and new opportunities for collaboration.
4) What are some of your duties as ambassador?
As an ambassador, I will have the opportunity to represent the GSBS and the university at different events throughout the year. This includes events within the university, with the community, and with UT Health San Antonio alumni.
5) Anything you want to say to the student body?
Thank you for your dedication to research and for continuing to make the GSBS an incredible community to be a part of. It is an honor to serve as a representative of such a diverse, committed, and resilient community. It’s your hard work and dedication to advancing health care through research that truly makes the GSBS what it is. I look forward to serving this outstanding community during my time as an ambassador.