Scholar Research and Accolades

Dr. Thomas  Gajewski , M.d. Ph.D.
A University of Chicago ARCS scholar alumnus,  Dr. Gajewski is currently and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine in the Ben May Department of Cancer Research.   Focused on studying the molecular and cellular regulation of T lymphocyte activation and differentiation, and in turn applying this information to preclinical and clinical efforts to promote anti-tumor immunity in vivo, Dr. Gajewski’s recent work suggests that most tumors express antigens that can be recognized as foreign by specific T cells.   How and why tumors can grow and escape immune destruction has become a central problem in cancer biology.
Kate Timmerman

As a graduate student in neuroscience, I made it a goal to get at least one source of outside funding each year. Be it a grant, travel award, or monetary poster prize, I felt that it was important to show future employers that I was competitive in the scientific community. Although I succeeded in this annual goal, none of the awards I received gave me the creative license that my ARCS scholarship did. As a 4th year graduate student, the ARCS scholarship allowed me to buy a piece of laboratory equipment, perform my last thesis experiments, and attend conferences to network with potential postdoctoral advisors. When I obtained my PhD and began my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, I was able to maintain that relationship with ARCS by becoming a member.

The natural decision to become an ARCS scholar-turned-member has allowed me to not only give back to the ARCS  Chicago community but also stay in touch with young students who are currently in the midst of the academic rigors of graduate school. Although I initially assumed I would be a peripheral member of the group, I found myself interacting more and more with the other members and student scholars, and now am proud to serve ARCS Chicago as a board member. The members care deeply about the state of science education in our country and they know how to have fun supporting it!

Though I left the laboratory setting to take on other career opportunities in the sciences, my connections with current scholars allow me to stay in touch with cutting edge science and learn about their broad range of fields.  I enjoy hearing about their career aspirations and can even provide some guidance from time to time. I also hope that the current scholars see the rewards that ARCS continues to provide to me well after my scholarship has finished, and will consider remaining a part of our group long after their scholarships have ended.

Dr. Holly J. Humphrey, MD, Dean Medical Education at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Dr. Holly Humphrey is a 1982 ARCS Scholar award recipient.  At a recent University of Chicago reception, acknowledging ARCS 30 year partnership, Dr. Humphrey stated “ Medical school has always been an expensive endeavor.  The scholarship helped me meet two goals simultaneously:  one was to reduce my medical school bill and the second was to dedicate time to pursue an area of research in which I was interested.”   

Dr. Humphrey’s role as Dean for Medical Education at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, is to  oversee medical education for students in the Pritzker School of Medicine and for all residents and fellows in graduate medical education programs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Since her appointment in 2003, Dr. Humphrey has launched a series of innovative programs to encourage faculty development, enhance medical professionalism, and improve student-faculty diversity. This includes a comprehensive curriculum reform effort entitled “The Pritzker Initiative: A Curriculum for the 21st Century,” which was unveiled in the fall of 2009. Dr. Humphrey launched the University of Chicago’s Roadmap to Professionalism to support and enhance the highest professional standards for students, residents, and faculty and established the University’s Medical Education Research, Innovation, and Teaching initiative to support and promote research, innovation, and scholarship in medical education at the University of Chicago. Under her direction, Pritzker established the Pritzker Advising and Mentoring Societies and several initiatives to support under-represented minorities in Medicine. These included the Bowman Society, which explores issues of health care disparities and provides mentoring for minority students, residents, and faculty and two new pipeline programs, focusing on preparing under-represented minority high school and college students for careers in medicine. In concert with these initiatives, the Pritzker School of Medicine has recruited one of the most diverse student bodies among American medical schools. While the percentage of matriculants who are underrepresented in medicine is under 10% nationally, that percentage of matriculants at the Pritzker School of Medicine is approximately 18–22% annually. Under Dr. Humphrey’s guidance and leadership, the Pritzker School of Medicine has also soared in its selectivity, as reported by US News and World Report, rising from #41 to #3.

After earning an MD degree with Honors from the University of Chicago, Dr. Humphrey continued her training at this institution in an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine. She was Chief Medical Resident before joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1989, which began a 14-year appointment as Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Humphrey co-edited the first Chief Residents Manual in 1993.

A Professor of Medicine, Dr. Humphrey is a nationally recognized leader in medical education and a sought after visiting professor. In 2005, Dr. Humphrey became the first sitting faculty member from the University of Chicago to deliver the Lowell T. Coggeshall Memorial Lecture. In 2009, Dr. Humphrey was invited to serve as the Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Visiting Scholar in Medical Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 2008.

For her curricular reform and work—through the Pritzker Initiative—to create more robust opportunities for experiential learning among medical students, Dr. Humphrey was named one of Crain’s Business Journal’s 2009 “Women to Watch.” She is the winner of numerous teaching awards including the 2005 Dema C. Daley Founders Award from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine for recognition as an educator, innovator, and leader. In 2010, she received the distinction of being named a Master within the American College of Physicians. She was twice honored by students at the University of Chicago with the Hilger Perry Jenkins Teaching Award, recognizing the most outstanding teaching and patient-oriented service. Graduating students have honored her 18 times as one of their favorite faculty-teachers.

Dr. Humphrey has served as Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and as President of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine.


Thanks From Scholar Emily Bethea

The debt associated with higher education can be overwhelming. As I continue to talk with classmates and friends I realize how truly fortunate I am to have had your generous support which allowed me to take liberties in research and clinical exposure as I progressed through medical school. I think sometimes donations can seem small, or because they are intangible hard to associate with real gain --- I want to make very clear how much I benefited from your generosity. On a daily basis things were easier, meaning I could focus on learning and not worry constantly about how I was going to structure my financial plan. It also allowed me to consider a career path in primary care, and not feel anxious about paying back the large amount of debt I have still accrued. Importantly, it was beneficial to meet and learn from such an extraordinary group of women and supporters. Watching people come together throughout the year was such a touching experience; I believe it was integral to my development to see everyone fighting for something they so strongly believe in. I can’t thank you enough, please know that I'll be able to make more of a difference in the lives of others because you were thoughtful enough to make the difference in mine. I'm still on board, let's keep working to advance science in America!

Thanks From Scholar Rebecca Barak

Thank you for your interest in the future of science, and thank you so much for your generous support during my graduate school years. I have enjoyed meeting many of you at the ARCS events, and hope to stay connected to the ARCS family in the years to come. Thanks to your funding I was able to travel to the beautiful Zion National Park in Utah to conduct field work, and collect seeds for my research on ecological restoration in the Colorado Plateau. Thanks to your generosity I was able to focus my energies on my studies and my research, and I appreciate this immensely. My immediate plans include finishing my masters project! I hope to use my data to inform species selection for restoration in Zion National Park and the surrounding areas. Some native plant species which are not typically candidates for reseeding projects may have the potential to curb invasive species, and restore native diversity. In addition, I will continue my work as Coordinator of Climate Change Education at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where I work with teachers to develop, test, and implement curriculum that addresses climate change through data analysis and citizen-science. In the future, I hope to continue to marry my interests in education and restoration from within the field of seed conservation. Thank you again, ARCS members for all that you do!

Thanks From Scholar Richard Duncan

In addition to financial support, ARCS provided a unique opportunity to connect with people across the city, get a glimpse of the problems other researchers and scholars are solving, and better understand the efforts being made to continue to support math and science education in the US. This "window" into parts of the scientific world outside my own field was an important addition to my doctorate studies, and will greatly inform my future adventures (which remain "to be determined" at the moment).