This award is established in memory of Maria del Carmen Vitery, a former graduate student in the Department of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University.
Maria was born in Peru and immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. She obtained her BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and her MS in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. Maria joined the Cellular and Molecular Physiology Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins in 2016, where she was a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service awardee. During her tenure in the laboratory of her Ph.D. advisor Dr. Zhaozhu Qiu, Maria made important contributions to the physiological role of new chloride channels. In addition to excellence in science, Maria distinguished herself by exemplary service and contribution to the community – at Hopkins and beyond. She actively contributed to the Graduate Student Association, the Biomedical Scholars Association, and the Hopkins chapter of the Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. She devoted numerous hours as a mentor to children in Baltimore community who were struggling in school. Maria was an accomplished ballet dancer and shared her love of this art through performing and teaching. Tragically, a sudden unexplained disease ended her life on January 28, 2019. For her outstanding academic achievements, service, and commitment to diversity, Maria was inducted into the inaugural class of the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society and awarded a PhD posthumously by Johns Hopkins University.
The Department of Physiology established the Maria del Carmen Vitery Graduate Student Award to honor a current student who, like Maria, excels in thesis research and has demonstrated commitment to service and outreach. All graduate students conducting Ph.D. research in the Department of Physiology (including students from other graduate programs) are eligible. To apply, please submit your CV (with a list of publications, and service/outreach efforts) and a letter of recommendation directly from your advisor to Madeline McLaughlin (email@example.com). A plaque and $200 honorarium will be presented to the winner at the Annual Physiology Retreat in September.