The Michael Manzella Foundation is now accepting applications for our Summer 2014 Fellowships. Details on the application requirements and process can be downloaded below:

The Michael Manzella Summer Fellowship Recipients, 2013

Through grants totaling close to $15,000, the Foundation Proudly Supported the Summer Projects of Several Promising Students Committed to Making a Difference in Cancer Research, Education, Children’s Causes and the Arts.

Stephanie Tubiolo

Stephanie created the New Haven Summer Youth Choir, a choral instruction and performance experience for low-income New Haven youth between 5th and 9th grades. Stephanie is an accomplished chorister and violist and has made numerous connections in the New Haven School District through her years of volunteer teaching as a music educator at disadvantaged New Haven schools. The choir rehearsed regularly throughout the summer and performed free concerts for the community. With 23 students from 12 different New Haven middle schools in its first year, the New Haven Summer Youth Choir promises to become a treasured free opportunity for New Haven’s young musicians for years to come. In Stephanie’s words, “I am most happy about the close friendships that I see forming and the positive social atmosphere that has set in. A choir of friends sings more joyfully than a choir of acquaintances.” Stephanie embodies the Foundation’s mission to connect the performing arts and children’s causes.

Francis Mburu

Francis conducted research related to brain cancer tumor growth in the lab of Dr. Stephen Quake at Stanford University. Spending more than 50 hours a week in the lab for 12 weeks over the summer may not be every young person’s idea of a summer vacation, but Francis is an exceptional young man whose dedication equals his talent. Francis was inspired to conduct cancer research, especially in the area of brain tumors, due to the loss of his dear friend, who succumbed to brain cancer when they were in their teens. A recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars program, Francis is already a published co-author of a research study in the scientific journal Nature Methods. Reflecting on the cancer research work during his summer fellowship, Francis notes, “The experience I have had this summer has really made me grow, and I have acquired many useful skills in a very short time.” That’s great news for all of us, who hope to see talented scientists like Francis find new, effective treatments for cancer.

Vasiliki Trantafillou

A returning second-year MMF fellow, Vicki continued lab research studying lung cancer, specifically lung cancer cells (miRNA) that have been identified to predict patient relapse and control the invasive behavior of lung cancer cells, in the laboratory of Don X. Nguyen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Yale School of Medicine’s Smilow Cancer Center. Vicki has been working on this lung cancer study for years in this lab, and Dr. Nguyen states, “As an ultimate testament to her potential, I have decided to forgo any recruitment of graduate students for this important project, because I believe that it would be difficult to find anyone more productive or talented than Vicki.” Outside of the research lab this summer, Vicki volunteered and shadowed extensively in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Yale New Haven Hospital. As she moves toward medical school, Vicki has already made a distinct mark on the field of cancer research, and we know she will do great things in the future. After two summers of fellowship support, Vicki excitedly notes, “I am so proud to be a Michael Manzella Fellow!” We are proud of Vicki as well!

Ethan Karetsky

Ethan conducted research on American Musical Theater, and worked with his growing production team to develop the musical Gypsy into a mainstage production for performance in the 2013-14 academic year. Ethan devoted hours of bi-coastal research at the Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Warner Brothers Archives in Los Angeles, as well as to the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. Professor Susan Cahan, Associate Dean for the Arts at Yale, noted that Ethan “has been a force of nature in the arts at Yale.” His dedication to excellence in the performing arts is evident in Ethan’s thoughtful, disciplined approach to crafting a production with high-level detail. “It means the world to me,” Ethan observed, to have the opportunity through the MMF fellowship to conduct first-hand musical theater research and production development. We look forward to seeing Ethan’s productions in New Haven, and expect to see his work on Broadway before long!

Divyansh Agarwal

Divyansh spent his summer in the lab of Dr. Nuria Malats at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas, a premiere cancer research lab in Madrid, Spain. He conducted genetic analysis of data collected from breast cancer patients in the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study. Divyansh’s extensive and impressive background in mathematical modeling and differential equations has relevant and helpful implications for his involvement in cancer gene sequencing. Furthermore, his enthusiasm for both research and the clinical applications of the research on treating breast cancer patients is remarkable. Enthusiastically, Divyansh observes, “The whole experience has also benefitted my professional and medical Spanish and has taught me a wide range of techniques, both lab-based and computational, that I did not know of before.” We know this is a young man who will have a tremendous impact on the fight against cancer.