Global biotech CSL recently named this year’s winners of its U.S. Promising FUTURES scholarship program – awards that benefit students from communities who are underrepresented in the biotechnology industry, have overcome substantial obstacles in pursuing their studies, come from a disadvantaged background and/or are first-generation college students.
Recipients received scholarships of either $2,500, $5,000, and for the three Marquee Scholarship winners, $10,000. The awards, which exemplify CSL’s belief that education and financial empowerment have the potential to change lives, can help pay for technical schools, college or another form of advanced education.
CSL, with 30,000 employees and locations worldwide, makes medicines for people who have rare and serious diseases and also manufactures vaccines to protect the population from influenza and other threats. CSL Plasma centers collect human plasma solely for the development of medicines needed by people who have immune system problems, hemophilia and other conditions.
Learn more about this year’s U.S. Promising FUTURES Marquee Scholarship Winners, who received a congratulatory video call from CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault and Chief Human Resources Officer Elizabeth Walker:
Tholia Peoples is a Group Leader Phlebotomist at CSL Plasma in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Peoples is starting her first year of graduate school at Furman University and previously earned a master’s degree in Community Engaged Medicine. She plans to attend medical school and, eventually, become an emergency medicine physician.
Peoples excels in math and science and also believes she can make a difference by becoming a doctor. Though Black women account for 14 percent of the U.S. population, only about 2.5 percent of doctors identify as Black females, according to 2018 statistics, she said. More diversity would benefit the field of medicine, where too many people are being mistreated, misunderstood, and mishandled due to differences in ethnicity, or social and economic background, she said.
She hopes to educate, advocate for and help patients in her community feel safe. Peoples believes this scholarship confirms she is on the right track, that other people believe in her and – regardless of what she goes through – she is doing what she should be doing.
Aditee Prabhutendolkar, is the daughter of Anuja Prabhutendolkar, CSL R&D Director, Product Development and Research Quality in Pasadena, California.
In her second year at California Institute of Technology, this is also Prabhutendolkar’s second year to receive a Promising FUTURES Marquee Scholarship. After completing her bachelor’s degree in computational neuroscience, she plans to attend medical school, eventually becoming a physician-scientist and using her knowledge of medicine from radically different cultures to positively impact patients.
As a child, Prabhutendolkar says she often felt overlooked in STEM activities, where she was sometimes the only girl or dark-skinned person in the room. She got used to hearing rude comments and having to work twice as hard to get the recognition she deserved. Last year, Prabhutendolkar received a grant from GirlUp that enabled her to travel to an Indian village, teach microbiology and encourage students to study medicine.
As president of the campus Feminist Club and an officer on SAGE (Sexual Assault and Gender Equity) Council, Prabhutendolkar has focused on promoting a safe and inclusive campus culture by increasing awareness and education around sexual violence and gender-based discrimination. Over the past year, she has also trained to become a Title IX Advocate, volunteered with the Red Cross at blood drives and the Rose Parade, worked with patients at Huntington Hospital and trained to provide primary medical treatment to her peers.
Tamara Alhasanat, is the daughter of Faten Amarieen, a CSL Plasma Center Supervisor
Alhasanat is in her second year at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she is studying biology. The child of Jordanian immigrants, she wanted to become a dentist from a young age. Members of her family have told her stories about driving for hours to see a dentist, only to leave with more complications than when they arrived. Alhasanat wants to change the perception of health care professionals in communities like her family’s. Simply speaking the same language puts many people at ease, she said.
When her father secured a better-paying job, Alhasanat said she felt more confident pursuing – and being able to afford – the college education required to make her ambition a reality. But one phone call changed everything. Her mother, she learned, had breast cancer. As the medical bills accumulated and doctor’s appointments became commonplace, she didn’t know what to focus on: her schoolwork, her mother's diagnosis, or the financial ramifications of her father leaving his job to care for her. She says the scholarship came at the perfect time and that she and her mother cried together after receiving the notification of the award.