Award winner Jamaica Cass
A Queen’s student is the only Canadian university recipient of this year’s Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards. The award, presented by the American Association of Cancer Research, will pay for Jamaica Cass, a masters student in Microbiology and Immunology, to attend the AACR’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
“I was pretty happy, and so was my supervisor,” says Ms Cass of the award, which is intended to enhance the education and training of minority researchers, and increase the visibility and recognition of minorities involved in cancer research. Ms Cass’ extended family belongs to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
Ms Cass was also the only Canadian invited to speak at a symposium for undergraduate cancer researchers at the event – a symposium she herself took part in as an undergraduate. She will have the opportunity to discuss her training and career goals with other young cancer researchers.
Under the supervision of Bruce Elliott and Leda Raptis, Ms Cass’ current research focuses on breast cancer. She’s also in the process of transferring to a PhD program in a cancer research stream here at Queen’s, with the intention of going to medical school after she graduates.
Ms Cass prefers a “bench to bedside” approach that allows her to interact with patients.
“I like to see how what I do impacts patients, and how I can help them,” she says. “I really like being around people.”
Scholars are chosen based on their qualifications, references from mentors, and an estimation of the professional benefit to the recipients.
The AACR handed out 25 Minority Scholar awards, which are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. The meeting – the biggest cancer conference in the world – runs from April 17-21. More than 17,000 participants are expected to attend.