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New Mexico State University

STEM Award of Excellence Recipient

‹‹ Press Release

From left to right: Dr. Dennis Hallford, Dr. Kathryn Hanley, Kellie Ann Jurado, and Dr. Michaela Burkardt
From left to right: Dr. Dennis Hallford, Dr. Kathryn Hanley, Kellie Ann Jurado, and Dr. Michaela Burkardt

Kellie Ann Jurado

Majors: Biology and Microbiology
Minor: Biochemistry, Psychology, Honors
Nominating mentors: Dr. Michaela Burkardt and Dr. Dennis Hallford

"I live my life with my heart as my leader, my mind as my tool, and my passion as my motive." — Kellie Ann Jurado

Kellie Ann Jurado's dedication and passion is apparent in her impressive accomplishments. Dr. Dennis Hallford writes "academically Ms. Jurado is an exceptional student as evidenced by her 4.0 grade point average on 141 hours. The rigorous nature of her curriculum can be seen by a brief examination of her transcript. She is completing BS degrees in both Biology and Microbiology and will have minors in Biochemistry, Psychology, and Honors." Her other nominating mentor, Michaela Burkardt notes that Kellie "is truly a role model for academic rigor in the classroom, deep commitment to learn and apply her knowledge in research, as well as caring deeply for her community."

Kellie credits her success to her mentors stating "I have been extremely lucky to have such amazing mentors throughout my time here at New Mexico State University. They have each uniquely contributed to my undergraduate experience on an analytical, technical and professional basis." She has been actively involved in a wide variety of research since freshman year. She spent two years in Dr. Laura Thompson's Mother-Infant study investigating the effects of cortisol levels on the cognitive development of infants throughout their first year. In the summer of 2008, she interned at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. From 2008-2010, she was the NIH-MARC fellow in the reproductive physiology and endocrinology laboratory in the Animal and Range Sciences department under Dr. Dennis M. Hallford. In 2010, she was accepted into the National Cancer Institute's Introduction to Cancer Research Careers Program and held a research internship at NIH in the summer. Currently, Kellie works with Dr. Kathryn Hanley from the Biology Department researching "the interactions of Dengue Virus with its mosquito vector's major immune defense, RNA interference."

Kellie's excellence in academics and research have led to multiple publications and awards. She presented her research at 4 conferences: the Society for the Advance Placement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS), Salt Lake City, UT; Human Biology Association, Chicago, IL; Journal of Animal Science Western Section, Fort Collins, CO; and International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, San Francisco, CA. Her most recent awards include the 2008-2009 Kennett Melgaard Award for Top Chemistry Student, the 2009 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar and the 2009 Pre-Vanderbilt Honors Scholar.

In addition to her academic achievements, Kellie gives back to the community through CASA, a program that supports abused and neglected children. While still in high school she created a CASA program called "Transitions" that provides scrapbooks to children documenting their lives as they transition from foster care into more permanent homes. She remains actively involved in CASA today.

After graduating in Spring 2011, Kellie plans to earn her PhD in order to teach and conduct biomedical research within academia. She hopes "to impact other young minds through instruction as a professor as well as to have impact within the scientific world through scientific contribution." In fall 2011, she will begin that journey as graduate student in Virology at Harvard University.

‹‹ Press Release