Bernstein Award presented at UMES Honors Convocation
PRINCESS ANNE, MD – (April 4, 2013) – A senior biology major hoping to add to the number of physicians among minority populations is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s recipient of the Richard Bernstein Achievement Award.
Ebony Thomas of Chester, Pa. earned the $5,000 award presented today at the university’s 60th annual honors convocation. The Bernstein Award was the pinnacle of honors among those given to some 1,600 UMES students recognized for academic achievements within their respective schools and departments.
"I was completely surprised—I was crying,” Thomas said.
A Richard A. Henson Honors program student with a 4.0 grade point average, the 22-year-old already has some impressive experiences under her belt. Thomas interned at Columbia University’s summer medical and dental education program and the University of Rochester’s summer undergraduate research fellowship program. Both programs in New York involved classroom experience, clinical rotations and mentoring.
Thomas’ desire to become a doctor stemmed from her grandmother’s bout with and successful outcome from breast cancer.
“As I watched her undergo the loss of her hair, radiation treatments and chemotherapy, I gained a respect for the field of medicine,” Thomas said.
The Bernstein Award is named for and created by the businessman and philanthropist credited with introducing high technology to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The monetary award is presented to a senior graduating with a degree in a STEM area with outstanding grades, leadership skills and the potential to continue scholarly work.
Mobolaji Okulate, an associate professor of microbiology, describes Thomas as “a truly exceptional and diligent student academically, who demonstrates strong leadership ability on and off campus.”
Thomas was valedictorian of her high school and continued that success at UMES being named to the dean’s list each semester of her collegiate career. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Biology honor society’s and is listed in Who’s Who among American Universities and Colleges. Thomas has volunteered as a Hawk Mentor and with Habitat for Humanity and the university’s chapter of Rotaract.
Following graduation, Thomas hopes to participate in a post baccalaureate research program at the National Institutes of Health. She is also applying to medical schools and after her year off, plans on attending fall 2014.
“Becoming a positive change in the world will like all things take time, but it begins with mastering my weapon of choice—knowledge.”
Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.