Las Cruces – As New Mexico State University senior Kellie Ann Jurado prepares for graduation May 7 with the university's highest honor, the Class of 1919 award, she is looking forward to the fall semester when she will begin her Ph.D. on a full scholarship to Harvard University.
Jurado, who is receiving degrees in both microbiology and biology, had the highest grade point average and the greatest number of credits earned with computable grades of all NMSU students, receiving highest honors from the fall and spring commencements.
"I'm excited to share this success with my family and mentors," Jurado said. "I could not have asked for better academic and research mentors during my time at NMSU, especially Dr. Kathryn Hanley, Dr. Dennis Hallford and Dr. Laura Thompson. They have all uniquely and largely contributed to my future through their verbal and nonverbal teachings."
Throughout her undergraduate career, Jurado worked extensively on various research projects, including topics of childhood stress and learning, endocrinology, cancer stem cells and Dengue virus vector-immunology.
In 2008, Jurado was awarded an NMSU Honors College international research scholarship, which allowed her to travel to Leipzig, Germany to work at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology researching reproductive endocrinology of women. She was among 276 students nationwide to receive the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2009 and was a 2010 Rhodes scholarship finalist.
Jurado was recently awarded the Ford Foundation Fellowship for pre-doctoral students, which is a national scholarship to assist with graduate school. She received a full scholarship and a generous annual stipend to attend Harvard University where she will complete her Ph.D. in virology.
"I am extremely proud to be an Aggie and to have received my undergraduate education at New Mexico State University and believe that it has adequately prepared me for my next academic step," Jurado said.