ARCS-2016The recipients of the 7th Annual ARCS Foundation Utah Scholar Awards were honored Thursday, Nov. 3, during a luncheon in the University of Utah College of Engineering Warnock Building.

ARCS Foundation Utah Chapter is one of 17 chapters of the national nonprofit women’s organization throughout the country, which helps U.S. students completing degrees in science, engineering and medical research.

This year’s recipients are:

Alex Jafek (mechanical engineering)

Alex Jafek completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics at Brigham Young University.  At the University of Utah, he is engaged in microfluidics research with Professor Bruce Gale, where he will be focused on advancing the understanding of exosomes function as a promising approach to cancer vaccines and therapeutic delivery vehicles.  Alex hopes to devote his future to research a way of contributing to the world through scientific advancement and discovery. As an undergraduate, Alex worked on submarine acoustics and water surface measurements, intelligence gathering via satellites, and providing humanitarian aid through the development of a low-cost prosthetic limb. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society.

Amanda Reynolds (bioengineering)

Amanda Reynolds completed a BS in biochemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville. As an honors undergraduate, Amanda mastered advanced research techniques in fluorescent microscopy where she created protocols and ran her own experiments working as a research assistant in the Materials Science Department and Veterans Affairs Hospital. As a graduate student in Bioengineering, Amanda researches the properties and uses of Collagen Mimetic Peptides in drug delivery and imaging applications. She aspires to a career in pharmaceutical research. Amanda receives continuing support from the Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award in Life Sciences.

Marcus Parry (materials science and engineering)

Marcus Parry was an exemplary student in chemistry at Westminster College.  While he always intended to pursue graduate studies, Marcus accepted a position in industry to gain experience and help focus his interests.  As a pharmaceutical chemist at Pharmatek Laboratories in San Diego, Marcus discovered his passion for materials science and engineering, especially in the characterization and development of novel materials. In addition to his active engagement in undergraduate research in computational chemistry and molecular modeling at Westminster, Marcus played on the Men’s Varsity Basketball Team and was named captain in his senior year.  Marcus is currently working with Assistant Professor Taylor Sparks on the on the discovery, synthesis, and characterization of new materials for energy applications.

Rebekah Gensure (ophthalmology, Moran Eye Center)

Rebekah Gensure graduated summa cum laude in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University, followed by graduate school at Rutgers University, receiving the PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 and MD degree in 2016.  Rebekah performed her PhD thesis research with David J. Foran, PhD at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Rutgers University Center for Biomedical Imaging and Informatics. Using 3D tumor characteristics, she developed a prognostic tool for treatment planning and response assessment to radioembolization therapy in patients with liver cancer. Returning to the medical school curriculum, Rebekah served as a Vision Research Scholar in the Wills Eye Hospital Research Department under the direction of Julia A. Haller, MD and Lisa Hark, PhD, where she made significant contributions to a $3 million grant submission to the Department of Defense for the use of trans-corneal electrical stimulation for improvement of ocular dysfunction in patients with traumatic brain injury. Her remarkable research productivity includes eight peer-reviewed journal articles and 13 conference proceedings /abstracts.