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York Pharm Science Major to Present Research in LA

Congratulations to the York College junior for her selection as a finalist in the Madam C. J. Walker Scholarship 2022.

Micaela Reyes applied to the scholarship given by the Society of Cosmetic Chemist (SCC) sponsored by Mary Kay Cosmetics; and named in memory of the pioneering hair care inventor, Madam C. J. Walker. Although she did not receive the scholarship, York College applauds Ms. Reyes for taking the initiative to apply and for the impressive research that led to her nomination.

Ms. Reyes was recently informed by the organization (SCC) that she was a finalist, along with a physician, and has been invited to Los Angeles to present her research findings at the SCC’s 76th Annual Scientific Meeting and Showcase. The event will take place at the JW Marriott LA, December 12-14, 2022. She will be recognized as a scholarship finalist at the annual awards breakfast.  Reyes will receive numerous perks, including round trip fare and hotel stay for one night.

The scholarship was first introduced in 2020 so it speaks well for York’s Pharmaceutical Science program that Reyes, who emigrated from her native Uruguay, South America in 2016, speaking no English, enrolled at York’s Learning Center, where she studied for and passed the General Education Diploma (GED). Her teacher at the Learning Center, a Mr. Shaun Williams, saw her potential and encouraged her to enroll as a matriculating student at York College. He told her about the college’s Pharmaceutical Science She heeded the advice and enrolled at York in 2019.

Under the research mentorship of Dr. Daniele Musumeci, Reyes, who is president of the Chemistry Club, thrived and impressed with her work and her work ethic. But the field of cosmetics is not new to the York Swim Team member. That love affair predates college.

 “I started in this country as cosmetologist and makeup artist,” said Reyes. “I am now a Society of Cosmetic Chemists International member and they’ve given me a scholarship. It helps with the courses I have to take at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Marketing and Business related to the cosmetic industry.”

Dr. Musumeci has high praises for Reyes’ commitment to her goals.

“Micaela is an extraordinarily motivated and relentless student,” said Musumeci. “She knows what career she wants to pursue, and she is giving her best to achieve her goal. Micaela is not only doing well in her required classes, but she also proactively searches for extra-curricular activities to expand her network of people and gain more experience. Getting to know people in the field is key in any career, and she knows it.”

Professor Musumeci reiterated that Reye’s goal is a career in the cosmetic industry. Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics are fields that significantly overlap.

“The science, the analytical techniques, and the manufacturing process used for the cosmetics are basically the same as the ones used for pharmaceuticals,” said Dr. Musumeci. “Micaela is a go-getter. Once she completes her degree, I am sure she will be very successful in the field.”    

The busy young scholar, also praises Drs. Emmanuel Chang, Catherine Foster and Musumeci for the teaching, mentoring and support they provide so she can thrive in spite of her busy schedule. She works part-time on campus as a Chemistry tutor even as she engages in campus life and maintain her Honors Program student status.  She is determined to graduate in spring 2024 to pursue her passion professionally.

“I am pursuing a career as a Cosmetic Formulator Chemist,” says Reyes. “My goal is to work in a Research and Development (R&D) team in the cosmetics industry. I am passionate about hair and color cosmetic products.” 

Reyes also wanted it known that the Madam CJ Walker Scholarship is offered to under-represented minorities pursuing higher education in STEM related to the cosmetic and personal care industry.

“It is meant to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field,” she said.

 **Madam C.J. Walker (1867 -1919): was an African-American woman born Sarah Breedlove. She is listed as the first self-made woman millionaire. Her wealth came from her hair styling inventions such as the straightening comb and care products such as hair nourishing moisturizers and cremes.