UofL senior wins inaugural international STEM fellowship

Afi Tagnedji, Quad Fellowship recipient

By Janet Cappiello

Afi Tagnedji, a University of Louisville senior majoring in biochemistry, is among an elite group of international science, technology, engineering and mathematics students awarded the first Quad Fellowship.
The fellowship, which focuses on building a network of the next generation of scientists and technologists, today announced its first cohort of 100 students from the United States, Japan, Australia and India. She is one of 25 who won in the U.S. and the only fellow from a Kentucky university.
An initiative of the four countries, the fellowship is aimed at creating an international network of science and technology experts who will work together within and among their countries for the greater good. Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic arm of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, administers the fellowship.
The award is the latest in a series of prestigious academic scholarships and fellowships for Tagnedji, a native of Togo in west Africa. Already a recipient of UofL’s selective Martin Luther King and Woodford Porter scholarships for undergraduates, she won a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for college juniors this spring.
The award will be used to support her pursuit of graduate studies in genetics and pharmacology. 
“I have long been interested in pharmacogenetics, a field of research that studies how a person’s genes affect how they respond to medications, and hope to mitigate cancer health disparities with precision medicine and diagnostics,” she said. “I thank my friends, family and mentors for their continued support.”
The undergraduate researcher is a student leader who has been active in UofL’s Student Government Association.
“Afi is one of the best and brightest at the University of Louisville,” said Lori Stewart Gonzalez, interim president. “She is on the road to becoming an international researcher and leader who will serve as a positive force on the world stage.”
Each Quad Fellow will receive a one-time award of  $50,000 to use for tuition, research, fees, books, room and board, and related academic expenses. The fellowships also include exclusive programming opportunities and fellows are eligible for another $25,000 based on need.

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