Senior Sophina Taitano, a Forensic Sciences Major with minors in Chemistry and Biology, was recently awarded Chaminade’s highest academic honor, the President Sue Wesselkamper Prize. She was one of two recipients in 2013.
Sophina will graduate Magna Cum Laude this May. A native Chamoritta from Guam, Sophina has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan and will study immunology.
In 2011 she was accepted into the Endocrine Society’s Minority Access Program. This gave her the opportunity to complete two summers of research at mainland universities. Sophina gives a short description of the her areas of research in this clip:
Sophina has worked with mentors on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researching cancer cell biology, and the University of California, San Diego researching hormones & the pituitary gland. Sophina has presented her work from both summers at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in 2011 and 2012. She received the Presentation Award in the Cancer Biology category for an exemplary poster presentation at the 2011 conference. She has also presented at the Endocrine Society’s meeting in 2012 and will present her latest research work there this June.
Sophina and other students in the life sciences receive assistance with research internships from professor Jolene Cogbill, Coordinator, Academic Enrichment and Outreach Programs in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
After completing her Ph.D., Sophina plans to eventually return to Guam to enrich the science programs at the University of Guam to give the students greater opportunities for expanding their horizons.
Sophina is the daughter of Elizabeth Horne and Joseph Taitano and the youngest of six siblings.
The Sue Wesselkamper prize is made possible by the generous support of Henry and Charlotte Clark and is given annually to recognize and encourage student scholarship and build the tradition of the annual Na Liko Na’auao student scholarship day.