Multiplier Effect

Jeliyah Clark smiling

Public health is personal for doctoral student Jeliyah Clark ’18. Clark’s family is from Duplin County, North Carolina, an area home to an active agricultural industry. Clark grew up hearing stories about her older sister, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in young children, and died at the age of two, before Clark was born.

Clark, who went to high school in Durham, came to Carolina with a scholarship from the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, which also provides opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research, professional development, leadership training, mentorship and other programming designed to pave the way for academic success and future achievement.

Motivated by her family’s tragedy, Clark’s course and lab work as an undergraduate at Carolina began with biology, and she later transitioned to studying environmental health sciences in the school of public health.

The CSS program helped Clark feel supported as she excelled at Carolina. In addition to her academic and lab work, Clark was a McNair Scholar, a volunteer in the UNC Stone Center’s Communiversity Youth Program, and a research associate in the selective Broad Summer Research Program through the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She was also a member of the Every Nation Campus Ministry.

Clark is now pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, with a minor in epidemiology. Along with graduate student Lauren Eaves, Clark has established a program to create research opportunities for undergraduate students. She has even mentored younger Chancellor’s Science Scholars in this role.

“We’ve been able to recruit several CSS students, and it is cool to see the program come full circle,” Clark said. “I think part of the beauty of the program is that you can help create this multiplier effect, making room for other scholars at the table once you’ve been given a seat.”

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