MANSFIELD, Pa. – Mansfield University cell and molecular biology students Lauren Griffith and Shaelyn Marx have been selected to serve as the 2021 Junior ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer Ambassadors for the American Cancer Society of the Greater Philadelphia area.
ResearcHERS Ambassadors help raise funds to support women-led cancer research nationwide.
A junior, Griffith is a member of the Mountaineer women’s basketball team and a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Scholar-Athlete, Vice President of the MU Future Healthcare Professionals Club, and aspiring physician scientist.
“I represent women in college looking to make a difference in the fight against cancer and working to support women in STEM” said Griffith, a native of Upper Marlboro, Md. “I have attended many events and conversations through the American Cancer Society and met with women in science who are using their voices to advocate for advancements in research.
“I decided to join this movement because I’ve witnessed how cancer has negatively impacted my family and how it drastically impacts the lives of people around the globe. I want to help further cancer research to hopefully make advancements in the near future.”
Griffith attended the American Cancer Society’s Northeast PA Board of Advisors summer meeting, where former classmate and MU 2021 Outstanding Senior, Caitlin Beauduy, presented her novel research on the impact of T cells on pancreatic cancer development.
“From these conversations, what moved me the most were the stories shared by the women and their own personal experiences with cancer or someone around them who has had it, and how it has pushed them to advocate/ fundraise for cancer research” Griffith explained. “It also inspired me to see how confident and determined the women were to make change: sharing their background of what motivates them to achieve equity.”
Marx a senior from Stroudsburg, Pa. is President of Mansfield’s Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and Future Healthcare Professionals Club, Vice President of Student Government Association (SGA), a biology/physics supplemental instruction leader and tutor, and aspiring physician scientist.
“I work to fundraise for women-led cancer research projects. I also advocate for and encourage women to pursue their passions for cancer research and to take on more leadership roles in the field” said Marx. “ResearcHERS also benefits me, personally, by encouraging and supporting me as I work with my female research advisor, Dr. Long, on my individual cancer research project.”
Last month, Marx participated in a live telethon supporting the American Cancer Society. She explains, “Through my work with ResearcHERS I had the opportunity to attend their telethon in Jim Thorpe, Pa. and during the live event, I spoke about the purpose of the ResearcHERS program, why cancer research is important, and how ResearcHERS has influenced me.”
Dr. Kristen Long, associate professor of biology and American Cancer Society Advisory Board member served as a ResearcHERS Ambassador last year during the inaugural year of the program. For Long, it’s all about getting students involved in the cause.
“Younger students respond more strongly to seeing their older peers in leadership and advocacy roles” said Long. “It’s really important to get Lauren and Shae’s message out there, especially to younger students in our rural area.”
Marx adds, “I wanted to get involved in the ResearcHERS program to inspire other young girls to pursue their passions.” Griffith concludes, “As a woman in science, I know we are underrepresented in our field, so I am willing to do everything that I possibly can to change that at a young age. I want to encourage young women around the country that it is never too soon to be the change.”
Griffith and Marx will attend a kickoff event for the ACS ResearcHERS Junior Ambassador Campaign on Saturday, September 11. Anyone interested in learning more about the initiative, becoming a ResearcHERS Junior Ambassador, or how to help lead the fight for a world without cancer, please register for the event. Guests will also have the opportunity to hear from Cherie Erkmen, MD, professor of thoracic surgery in the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at Lewis Katz School of Medicine and director of lung cancer screening at Temple University Hospital. For more information or to register, reserve your spot.
For more information about the biology program at Mansfield University or to learn more about the active cancer research projects and other projects happening in Dr. Long’s laboratory, visit mansfield.edu/biology.