NewsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Academic Exemplar Jalen London Selected For Amgen Scholars Program

In a striking testament to the burgeoning talent sprouting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Jalen London, a junior nursing major and an exemplar of academic excellence, has been handpicked for the prestigious Amgen Scholars program. This summer, London is set to continue his promising research journey at the hallowed halls of Harvard University, an opportunity that underscores not just his individual prowess but also the caliber of students UNC Charlotte is shaping.

London, a proud Winston-Salem native, holds the distinction of being a Martin Scholar. His academic journey is further distinguished by his membership in the Honors College and the nursing honors program, platforms that have undoubtedly played a pivotal role in honing his academic and research skills. His selection into the Amgen Scholars program is a continuation of a research odyssey that began last summer at Harvard, where he delved into the intricacies of microbiology and molecular genetics under the tutelage of Professor Suzanne Walker.

During his tenure as a Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Program Scholar, London dedicated 10 weeks to exploring the scientific realms within Walker’s laboratory. His return this summer, facilitated by the Amgen program, signals a deeper dive into the research he passionately embarked on.

The Amgen Scholars program, known for its rigorous selection process, offers London an enriching tapestry of professional development sessions, mentorship workshops, and social events. A key highlight will be his participation in the Amgen Scholars Symposium at the University of California, Los Angeles, culminating in a final oral presentation alongside respected professors and Ph.D. students. “I am excited to be chosen as an Amgen Scholar and to experience the ways this program mentors its students toward pursuing a Ph.D.,” London shared, reflecting on the opportunity that sets him among the exclusive 2024 cohort of Harvard-Amgen Scholars, and notably, as the first student from Charlotte to achieve this honor.

London’s journey into the realm of biochemical research began in his freshman year at Charlotte, under the mentorship of Professor Kirill Afonin. His work focused on the potential therapeutic roles of nucleic acid nanoparticles, a project that not only sparked his passion for research but also showcased his potential to contribute significantly to the field.

Beyond the laboratory, London engages with his community through Catalyst, a brand he developed to promote local DJs and producers, fostering a vibrant cultural scene. His leadership skills have also shone through his roles in various campus organizations, including the men’s club soccer team and Pi Kappa Alpha, and his involvement with Christian Students at UNC Charlotte.

The Amgen Scholars program, backed by a 17-year, $70 million commitment from the Amgen Foundation, aims to nurture scientific talent globally, offering undergraduate students hands-on research experiences at premier institutions. UNC Charlotte, home to 14 national scholarship and fellowship student awardees in the 2022-23 academic year alone, continues to affirm its commitment to academic excellence and its role in preparing students like London for impactful careers in research and beyond.

MORE >>>