Two students selected for prestigious Amgen Scholars Program

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headshots of Sarah Boyer and Mia Jastrzembski
(l to r) Sarah Boyer, Mia Jastrzembski

MACON — Mercer University junior Sarah Boyer and sophomore Mia Jastrzembski were recently selected as Amgen Scholars.

Boyer will spend 10 weeks this summer conducting research at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) in Dallas as part of a highly selective undergraduate summer research program that allows undergraduates from across the globe to participate in cutting-edge research opportunities at world-class institutions. 

“The Amgen Scholars program provides an excellent opportunity to prepare for graduate school and a research career,” said Boyer. “I am looking forward to continuing to learn biochemical techniques through biomedical research at UTSW this summer.” 

The Amgen Scholars Program (ASP) at the University of Texas Southwestern is designed to provide an intensive research experience to outstanding undergraduates who hope to pursue a research-intensive career in biomedical science. Under the mentorship of 340 graduate faculty, including four Nobel Prize winners, 25 National Academy of Science members, 17 National Academy of Medicine and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, Amgen Scholars will conduct biomedical research at one of the top-ranked U.S. medical schools and the home of groundbreaking scientific achievements.

(l to r) Sarah Boyer, Dr. Garland Crawford, Photo by Leah Yetter

From Forsyth, Boyer is a biochemistry and molecular biology major in Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She works in the biochemistry lab of Dr. Garland Crawford, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for Sarah to further learn and develop as a scientist,” Dr. Crawford said. “This summer program will give her the chance to interact with some of the best biomedical researchers in the world. I am proud of all that she continues to accomplish.”

In addition to her research work, Boyer is in the University Honors Program, is a member of the nation’s oldest academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, honor society Phi Kappa Phi and chemistry honor society Gamma Sigma Epsilon. She is also the program assistant for intramural sports. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Jastrzembski will spend 10 weeks this summer conducting research at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, as part of a highly selective undergraduate summer research program that allows undergraduates from across the globe to participate in cutting-edge research opportunities at world-class institutions.

The Amgen Scholars Program (ASP) at Duke University is an intensive research experience for undergraduates interested in biotechnology and drug discovery. Throughout the program, the scholars meet peers, present their research findings, learn about biotechnology and hear from leading scientists.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be able to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program at Duke University,” said Jastrzembski. “I look forward to pursuing research geared towards treating cancer and other diseases and hopefully using this research to make a difference in the lives of others.”

From Marietta, Jastrzembski is a biomedical engineering major in Mercer’s School of Engineering. She’s involved in conducting aerosol research with Dr. Sinjae Hyun, professor and chair of biomedical engineering, to study particle deposition in the human lung. Dr. Hyun said Jastrzembski’s commitment to research was evident during her involvement in experimental inhalation research, where she exhibited critical thinking and constructive actions.

(l to r) Dr. Sinjae Hyunn, Mia Jastrzembski. Photo by Leah Yetter

“Mia’s self-driven approach to research, coupled with her exceptional laboratory skills and leadership potential, set her apart,” said Dr. Hyun. “Her discipline and effective communication skills make her a valuable asset in both independent and team settings, demonstrating her ability to thrive in diverse environments.”

In addition to her research project, Jastrzembski is a Stamps Scholar, is involved in the University’s Engineering Honors Program and volunteers with Mercer’s Go Baby Go program modifying battery-powered toy cars for children with limited mobility.

Established in 2006, the Amgen Scholars Program is an undergraduate summer research experience hosted at 25 premier educational and research institutions across the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. Participants benefit by conducting a research project under top faculty, participating in seminars and networking events and taking part in a symposium in their respective region. Throughout the program, participants meet peers, present their research findings, learn about biotechnology and hear from leading scientists.