Past recipients have represented a wide-array of exceptional students, and this year is no different. Cadence Lee ’21 Sc.M., will be honored with the Brown Academic Accomplishment Award for her outstanding contributions during her time in the master of science in biotechnology (Sc.M.) program.
Lee earned her A.B. in health and human biology at Brown University. This credential, combined with additional training in vascular biology from her mentor, Alan Morrison, Assistant Professor of Medicine, prepared her for the rigors of this program and associated research. Alongside Morrison, Lee studied SARS-CoV-2 in order to better understand determinants of COVID-19 outcomes. Together, the pair uncovered important new dimensions in the area of atherosclerotic calcification that may help us to understand why patients with heart disease have worsening outcomes with COVID-19.
“Cadence is among a rare group of brilliant students who have the capacity to work in both science and medicine. As a master’s degree student, Cadence absolutely shined,” noted Morrison.
During her program, Lee earned a perfect GPA (4.0) and conferred her degree ahead of schedule. Further, her thesis will culminate in her being a contributing author on nine publications, three of which are already published. She was the recipient of the Biotechnology Graduate Program Sc.M. Fellowship and won the "Emerging Scientist Award for Women" given by the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal with the American Heart Association.
Out of the classroom, Cadence is an extraordinary leader and role model. She serves as the head women’s wrestling coach for “Beat the Streets Providence.” In this position, she is not only a wrestling coach to disadvantaged females in urban communities but also as a tutor for their academics.
Further, when Lee first came to Brown University as an undergraduate, she was nationally ranked in women’s wrestling. As a strong woman participating in a traditionally male sport, she was forced to overcome many obstacles. Consequent to her barrier-breaking efforts and initiative, Brown University now has an emerging women’s wrestling team program as part of a Division I initiative to bring women’s wrestling to the Ivy League.
“Cadence is a true example of what a master’s student at Brown University should be. She excelled in her rigorous coursework, made a major scholarly impact through publications, all while she was involved in her community,” says Jacquelyn Schell, Assistant Professor of Biology Education.
After graduation, Cadence plans on attending medical school and pursuing an M.D. She hopes to not only become a leading clinician, but also a scientist that contributes knowledge and research to the field. Her greatest inspiration is family. She aspires to help people, as her physician parents did, and serve patients like her sister who was born with a rare musculoskeletal condition. She saw firsthand the challenges her sister faced navigating toward a more inclusive society and strives to break down the barriers for others.
“I'm so grateful to have been selected for this award. I see it as a product of the support and guidance I've had over the years from my mentor, Dr. Morrison, my program director, Dr. Schell, and of course, my family. The last few years have been grueling amidst the pandemic, but I'm thankful to have had this unique opportunity.”