Jessica Azzarano Named 2021 President's Scholar Award Winner

The President's Scholar Award is awarded to a full-time undergraduate whose academic record is superior, and who participates in and contributes to the university community. The winner is chosen by the President of the University and receives the Presidential medal at Commencement.

This year, President D'Emilio chose Jessica Azzarano as the 2021 President's Scholar Award recipient.

Jessica is graduating with her degree in biology with minors in chemistry, mathematics, and microbiology. Not only is she graduating with a 4.0 GPA, but also with extensive research experience.

During the summer after her first year at GMercyU, she conducted research at Cabrini University as part of the SEA-PHAGES Program. The following summer, Jess began conducting research with Dr. Stacey Lettini on the microbial species that comprise the microbiome of fish in the neighboring Trewellyn Creek. She has presented her findings at the SEPCHE Honors Conference and the GMercyU Research Conference and is preparing her findings in two manuscripts for possible publication.

When she is not in class or working on her research, Jessica's most prominent role on campus has been as a biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics tutor for the Academic Resource Center (ARC). Jessica has also been an E-STEM Scholar since her freshman year, exhibiting leadership as a peer mentor.

Jessica is also committed to service. An active member of the Student Association of Science (SAS), she has been one of the driving forces behind the organization's various fundraising efforts and actively involved in Science Day at Hobbit House. Other notable projects include the Philly CureHD Walk campus event, activities benefiting Mercy Focus on Haiti, and the butterfly garden being established on campus to support the Mercy for Monarchs initiative.

In her personal time, she supports various cancer charities as a tribute to her father, who passed away due to cancer before she started high school.