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Alcorn State - Penn State Masters-to-Doctorate Program achieves 80% success rate

Lorman, Miss. (October 8, 2013) - “We are elated that the Alcorn State - Penn State Masters-to-Doctorate Program achieved such a high success rate,” stated Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “Since 2009, the program has hosted 11 students, who had earned their master’s degrees at Alcorn and transitioned to Penn State to work on their doctorate degrees. Eight of those students are successfully finishing up their studies and anticipate earning their PhDs in the nearest future.”

Alcorn students currently enrolled in doctoral program at Penn State are: Chavez Carter, who received his master’s in biology in 2008, is currently an advanced Ph.D. scholar at Cornell. He moved to Cornell University with his mentor Dr. Avery August in 2010. Chavez is now preparing for his qualifying exam.

Walter Jackson received his master’s in biology in May 2009 and joined doctorate program in neuroscience the same year. He completed his doctoral candidacy exam in spring 2011. An outstanding student he has won numerous awards including 2013 Innovative Researcher Award from Penn State. To read the article about Walter’s research at Penn State, click here.

Shawntawnee Collins received her master’s in biology in 2010 and the same year joined Penn State’s program in pathobiology. In 2012, she successfully passed her doctoral candidacy exam. A native of Colorado, she was a member of the Lady Braves Basketball Team.

Jaamal James, graduated from Alcorn in 2010 with master’s in biology degree and joined Penn State the same year. In 2012, he completed his doctoral candidacy exam. James specializes in molecular medicine.

Archie Taylor, a 2010 graduate of Alcorn. Upon earning his master’s in biology degree, he got accepted into Penn State’s program. He completed his doctoral candidacy exam in 2012 and is concentrating on his research in molecular medicine.

Melanie McReynolds received her master’s in biology in 2011 and was admitted to Penn State to specialize in pathobiology and biochemistry.

Ketty Belton, upon earning his master’s degree in biology in 2011, he got admitted to graduate program in molecular medicine at Penn State.

Bernita Jenkins, graduated from Alcorn in 2012 with a master’s in biology and successfully joined Penn State’s graduate program in summer 2012.

The Alcorn State – Penn State University Masters-to-Doctorate Program is a NIH funded collaboration between the two institutions. It is designed to increase the number of underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs at Penn State.

For details and to apply to the program, please contact Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna at brajanna@alcorn.edu or visit him in the Department of Biological Sciences, Math and Science Building, 3rd floor.