Zee Kwong awarded The Biology Award for Excellence in honor of Darrell R. Stokes

Dr. Nic Vega, Dr. Kathy Campbell, Zee Kwong, Dr. Nicole Gerardo, Jason Chen. Credit: Malia Escobar

The Biology Award for Excellence in honor of Darrell R. Stokes is given to a Biology major who has
made significant contributions to the Department of Biology and the broader Emory Community. The winner, Zee Kwong 21Ox 23C, from Boston MA, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest honors in Biology (BS) for his research co-advised by Dr. Nic Vega and Dr. Nicole Gerardo studying themicrobial interactions that underlie the colonization of the squash bug microbiome; this bug attacks and can kill, among other crop plants, cucumbers, squashes, watermelons and pumpkins. He began as a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scholar in the summer of his sophomore year, and his work has culminated in numerous award-winning conference presentations and an accepted publication in Current Biology. Before beginning his honors thesis, he was selected to spend his junior year summer at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine as a Center for Precision Medicine Research Intern where he conducted research in molecular neurobiology while mentoring a high school student.

Zee was also actively involved in the Emory community. Within the Biology Department, Zee served as a Teaching Assistant for both the lecture and lab of Introduction to Microbiology and helped to restart the Biology Majors at Emory Club in conjunction with Dr. Reyes and Dr. Nam. Zee was also actively involved in Residence Life, beginning as a Residential Assistant on the Oxford campus and ultimately serving as the Senior Resident Advisor for a staff of 11 RAs on Emory’s Clairmont Campus. He was inducted into the Dobbs Society, Residence Life’s highest honor, for his contributions. Zee was also a staff member in Volunteer Emory, Emory’s preeminent volunteer organization, helping to supervise the three signature Days of Service that help to connect Emory
students to local Atlanta nonprofits.

Before attending medical school, Zee will spend his gap year at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) as an Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) Scholar in the lab of Dr. Olivia Steele-Mortimer, in Montana researching how the microbiome regulates the supershedding of Salmonella.

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