York Alum Earns Howard Hughes Fellowship for PhD Program

Patrick G. Gomez Menzies, a York College graduate of the Class of 2013, was recently awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. It will help fund his doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. HHMI expanded the program to include a wider group of applicants to encourage more PhD students who are “committed to diversity.” Menzies will receive $43,000 per year toward his studies over the next three years.

Menzies came to York in 2011 with a first degree from Harvard University where he specialized in History of Biotechnology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology as well as Cellular Biology. He was drawn to York for its outstanding Biotechnology program and affordable CUNY price tag.

His work at York under the mentorship of Dr. Louis Levinger included studying and characterizing the naturally occurring isoforms of a candidate prostate susceptibility gene involved in the t-RNA maturation process.  Dr. Levinger is not surprised by his former student’s success.

“All Patrick’s written and lab work, including providing the text for his Diversity Supplement to my NIH grant, taking the subject GRE exam in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and interviewing for PhD programs, had been consistent with the goals he stated so clearly the first time we met, said Levinger. “His clarity of vision and focus on achievement will support him throughout a successful career as a PhD student and beyond.”

Menzies, the son of physicians from the Central American nation of Belize, also studied with York Professor Gerard McNeil and was vice president of the York College Biotechnology Club. The super achiever already boasts a four-page CV and chose University of California, San Diego School of Medicine over eight other graduate school offers.

 “I felt there was a strong collaborative atmosphere,” said Menzies at the time he accepted their enrollment offer with a $31,000 annual fellowship. “They have the highest concentration of researchers in biomedical sciences in the area.”

 For more information on the HHMI Fellowship, click on the link below.


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