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Stern College Student Wins Scholarship to Fight Cancer

Prestigious scholarship will allow YU-affiliated college student to research cancer that claimed her grandparents' lives.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/3/2014, 7:18 PM

Kayla Applebaum
Kayla Applebaum
Yeshiva University

Yeshiva University (YU) continues to prove that Jewish observance and secular academic excellence can go hand in hand. A student at YU-affiliated Stern College for Women has won the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Kayla Applebaum, now in her junior year, was awarded the scholarship that provides tuition, fees as well as room and board of up to $7,500 per year. The competitive prize is meant to support undergraduates aiming for careers in science, math or engineering.

The new Goldwater scholar, who hails from Teaneck, New Jersey, plans to use the scholarship to continue studying the molecular pathways of breast cancer in her molecular biology research. She has been studying under Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern College.

“From a young age I’ve loved puzzles,” said Applebaum. “My passion for research stems from that same fascination: I like looking at the details, hypothesizing a way to make them work together, and piecing together the bigger picture.”

After losing two grandparents to cancer, Applebaum decided that she "wanted to investigate this topic further with the hope that I could ease human suffering."

"During the course of my projects, I discovered that I could take an idea and carry it to completion with conclusive results that could transform the way our society treats cancer. I hope one day to be able to make a difference in the life of at least one person," said Applebaum, who plans to continue on to medical school and keep pursuing cancer research. 

“Kayla is motivated, hard-working and always aims to achieve the best possible educational experience for herself,” said her mentor Holz. “She exemplifies one of the core missions of Stern College: to promote women in science and support their aspirations to succeed in their chosen career paths.”