CCNY trio wins 2024 Salk Scholarships for med school

Jalen Crespo, Fabliha Hussain and Ekene Onwubiko, recent graduates of The City College of New York,  are recipients of Jonas E. Salk Scholarships awarded by the City University of New York. The scholarships recognize exceptional students who plan careers in medicine and the biological sciences.

As Salk Scholars, Crespo, Hussain and Onwubiko will each receive a stipend of $8,000 to be allocated over three or four years of medical studies.

Following are brief bios of The City College’s three Scholars:

Jalen Crespo 
From CCNY’s Class of 2022, Crespo graduated magna cum laude with a BS in biology from the Division of Science. His other honors included making the Dean's List four times; receiving the Associated Medical Schools of New York Scholarship twice; and earning the inaugural American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institute Scholarship. Crespo also credits the Olivia McKenna Research Award and serving as president of the Latino Medical Student Association Plus Chapter as helping shape him. He aspires to be a surgeon and researcher and is considering specialties such as neuroscience, internal medicine, global medicine, general surgery, and aerospace medicine. “I want to become a physician that performs research and surgery operations. I am also planning to study the effect of spaceflight on the human microbiome and blood cells on astronauts,” he said. The Brooklynite will attend the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

Fabliha Hussain
Also from the Class of 2022, Hussain graduated summa cum laude with a BS in biology.  She was awarded the Ira & Cecile Weber Scholarship, the Dr. Leonard & Barbara Steinfeld Scholarship, the City College Academy for Professional Preparation (CCAPP) Service Award, the Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship and the S Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders. She also made the Dean's List. Born and raised in Queens, Hussain’s goal is to become a pediatrician for underserved populations. “My passion lies in addressing the needs of the underserved and doing so by focusing on the pediatric population,” she said. Hussain plans to attend Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Ekene Onwubiko
Nigerian-born and residing in Harlem, Onwubiko is from the Class of 2023. She graduated summa cum laude with honors in biology and as Division of Science Valedictorian. Among her other honors were the CCAPP service award; the Sharon Cosloy Scholarship; and the William Stratford Prize. Onwubiko was also an ABRCMS award winner for research poster presentation at the organization’s national conference in 2021. Her career goal is to become an oncologist involved in medical innovation and policy work. “I pursued a master’s in law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law between my graduation last year 2023 and medical school matriculation this year to help me achieve this,” she said. Onwubiko will attend Weill Cornell Medical School in Manhattan.

About the Salk Scholarship Program
The Salk Scholarship is named for Dr. Jonas Salk, a 1934 graduate of City College, who developed the first polio vaccine in 1955. Dr. Salk turned down a tickertape parade in honor of his discovery, and asked that the money be used for scholarships instead. New York City provided initial funding for the scholarships that year.
The Jonas Salk Scholarships are awarded annually to eight graduates of CUNY senior colleges who have been accepted by, and plan to attend, U.S. medical or graduate schools.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi (now Lightcast) puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Jay Mwamba
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