FRAMINGHAM – Framingham State University international student Camila Wendorff ’21 is the recipient of the first-ever Henri A. Termeer Student Scholarship, awarded by The Termeer Foundation and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd).
Wendorff’s family used much of their savings to obtain a visa to get her to the United States in 2016. She worked for two years as an au pair in Wellesley, improving her English language skills while planning to go to college. She ended up enrolling in MassBay Community College’s biotechnology program.
“I knew community college was more affordable and I had met people who spent two years earning an associate’s degree, before transferring to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree,” she said.
That’s exactly the path Wendorff has taken, enrolling at Framingham State in fall 2020, after establishing herself as an excellent scholar and a mentor to her peers in the field of biotechnology.
Wendorff discovered her passion for science watching her mom work as a nurse in Brazil. Her focus turned to medical research after her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s personal for me,” she said. “I want to be involved in cancer research.”
Wendorff ewill be honored during the 5th Annual Champions for Biotechnology Education Awards Reception on November 18.
The $2,500 Henri A. Termeer Student Scholarship is named in honor of the former CEO of Genzyme.
“I am delighted to recognize the accomplishments of Camila Wendorff as the 2020 recipient of the Henri A. Termeer scholarship,” said Belinda Termeer, Chair and Co-Founder of The Termeer Foundation. “My late husband, Henri Termeer, understood the need to support and encourage those young scientists who would provide the scientific knowledge and leadership that may lead to future research discoveries and medical breakthroughs. This award, in conjunction with the work of MassBio Ed, offers a deserving junior scientist the opportunity to pursue their academic goals and a career in the life science industry.”
“Camila has refused to let anything prevent her from pursuing her dreams,” added Framingham State University President F. Javier Cevallos. “The entire FSU community is proud to see her receive this well-deserved honor.”
Wendorff said living in the United States away from her family during a pandemic has been a major challenge. But she’s determined to achieve her goals.
“I don’t know when I’m going to be able to see my family again,” she said. “But they have sacrificed a lot to get me here. I am thankful for how much they trust me, and I hope to be able to afford a good life for them as they grow older.”
The Nov. 18 event also raises funds for MassBioEd, an organization dedicated to developing the region’s life sciences workforce with a focus on expansion, opportunity, and diversity.
Sponsors for the reception include Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme, Alnylam, Takeda, Corcoran Jennison, Middlesex Gases and Technologies, MilliporeSigma, Pfizer, Richmond Group, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Foundation Medicine, LaVoieHeathScience, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Propel Careers, Sunovion, Third Rock Ventures, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Janitronics Building Services, Fisher Scientific, AIS, BioMed Realty, Corealis Pharma, Cummings Foundation, and J. Calnan & Associates.
Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta will present the MassBioEd 2020 Champion Organization Award to Biogen, for its commitment to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.
The Award will be accepted by Kate Dawson, Senior Vice President, Therapeutics Development Unit and Chair of the Biogen Foundation and Chris Leibman, Senior Vice President, Value and Access. As one of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies.
The company is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists through equitable access to STEM education. Biogen is driven not only by their commitment to patients but also their passion for harnessing the power of science to benefit humanity.
“Congratulations to Biogen in receiving the 2020 MassBioEd Champion Organization Award for their longstanding commitment to advancing innovative and equitable science while continuing to expand their efforts in STEM educational programming,” said Secretary Acosta.
“We are proud to recognize this year’s Champions for Biotechnology Education Awardees at our annual Champions Reception for their efforts to empower students to enter careers in the life sciences industry. It is more important now than ever for our community to continue to work together to ensure our industry and educators are supported as they work to meet the demands of patients and students in our communities,” Sunny Schwartz, Executive Director of MassBioEd, said.
There will be a virtual Networking Reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. on November 18, followed by the virtual Awards Reception from 6pm to 7pm. If you are interested in attending, you can register for free or make a charitable donation in place of admission, here.
Portion of this report are from multiple press releases. Photo supplied to the digital news media outlet from Framingham State.