Bachelor’s degree candidate Sherry Fan and doctoral degree candidate Courtney Grimes will be the student speakers for the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences’ Spring 2021 Commencement Celebration. They will join Jamie Rappaport Clark (M.S. '83, marine estuarine environmental sciences), president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, who will be the keynote speaker.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the college’s celebration will be pre-recorded and available for viewing after 1 p.m. ET on May 20, 2021, at commencement.umd.edu.
Sherry Fan will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in both biological sciences and nutrition and food science. A Banneker/Key Scholar with a citation from the Integrated Life Sciences program in the Honors College, Fan has been heavily involved in teaching and research during her time at Maryland.
Since 2018, she has been studying the role of lipid metabolism in B-cell immune functions with Wenxia Song, a professor of cell biology and molecular genetics. As a Nathan Schnaper Intern in Translational Cancer Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Fan has conducted research with Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology David Weber and Professor of Medicine Charles Hong. With Weber, she screened drug fragments for their potential to inhibit ribonucleoprotein A18, a stress-response protein upregulated in cancer cells. With Hong, she performed genome-wide association studies to gain insight into the location of genes significant in thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Fan also volunteers with organizations fighting food insecurity including the Food Recovery Network and Tzu Ching, and with Alternative Breaks, a program that engages students in short-term service-learning immersion experiences that address social issues in local, national and international communities. As part of the student volunteer organization Gift to Uplift, she illustrated three personalized story books for sick children participating in medical studies at the National Institutes of Health. In her free time, Sherry enjoys badminton, guitar and digital art.
In January 2021, Fan’s artwork landed in the scientific journal Virology, accompanying a paper on ribosomal frameshifting written by Jonathan Dinman, professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at UMD.
Fan also incorporates art into her role as an undergraduate teaching assistant for genetics, principles of organismal biology and mammalian physiology courses. Her doodles are an important tool for conveying lessons in an engaging way.
After graduation, Fan will pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree with the Weill Cornell Tri-Institutional Medical Scientist Training Program and hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.
Courtney Grimes will graduate with a Ph.D. in chemistry. She came to UMD in 2013 after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hofstra University as an American Chemical Society Scholar.
Her dissertation research focuses on the characterization of filter-based techniques using a well-studied black carbon surrogate and other atmospherically relevant aerosols. She was advised by Russell Dickerson, who has joint appointments in Chemistry and Biochemistry and Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.
Grimes published first-author journal articles in Aerosol Science and Technology and Atmospheric Environment and a co-authored paper in Aerosol Science and Technology, and recently submitted a third first-author paper.
For her research, she investigated air quality and the emission of black carbon in urban environments, including New York City and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region, from flight and ground measurements. She also characterized the movement of ambient aerosol particles from China and studied the environmental impacts of particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
Grimes is a member of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a volunteer with SisterMentors, where she mentors young girls of color in the STEM fields.
After graduation, Grimes will work at the Department of Energy and Environment in Washington, D.C., and her long-term goal is to eventually apply to be an astronaut candidate with NASA.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $200 million.