BME student selected to receive a 2021 Cato T. Laurencin Travel Fellowship

Congratulations to BME undergraduate student Sophia Saenz, who was selected to receive a 2021 Cato T. Laurencin Student Travel Fellowship through the Society For Biomaterials (SFB). This prestigious award is given to support undergraduate students of under-represented minorities in the field of biomaterials to attend the SFB Annual Meeting.

Laurencin is a distinguished member of the Society for Biomaterials, and well known for his commitment to mentoring. He is the recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor Award, and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Math Mentoring from President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House. Laurencin is the 8th designated University Professor in UConn’s history, the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

In order to be considered for the grant, students submit transcripts, a letter of support from an adviser or mentor, a project statement on what they’re currently working on that is directly related to biomaterials, and a career goals statement.

Being awarded with a travel scholarship to the SFB Annual Meeting means that students have the opportunity to meet with distinguished and seasoned scientists in the field, hear from state-of-the-art speakers and learn about industry advancements, such as 3D printing, cardiovascular biomaterials and blood compatibility, nanomaterials drug delivery, engineered microenvironments in health and disease, and much more.

Saenz is currently a University Scholar and is presenting an oral talk at the SFB Annual Meeting this year. Her research focuses on studying the interactions between DNA, elastin, and collagen to work towards an extracellular matrix mimic. After graduation this Spring, Saenz will be starting at Hanger Inc., in Austin, Texas. Her mentor is Dr. Josephine Allen, Associate Professor and Genzyme Professor of Materials Science & Engineering in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering.