Student experiencing housing insecurity and treating disabled mother is awarded the inaugural Diversity Scholarship worth $40,000 toward his final undergraduate semester.
Header Image: PeproTech
Madison Martinez, Media Assistant, La Salle Residence Life
PHILADELPHIA, PA — La Salle University chemistry student, Jonathan Jonassaint, is one of two in the nation to be awarded the first annual Diversity Scholarship of $40,000 toward his final undergraduate semester provided by the biomedical engineering company, PeproTech, in East Windsor, New Jersey as they rollout their new heightened diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives seeking to make the scientific community a more inclusive one.
The Philadelphian student awardee, Jonassaint, is known by La Salle University professors and peers as simply J-Jay, but J-Jay’s story is far from simple. He spent his younger years in Haiti until moving to Reading, Pennsylvania. At 13, J-Jay’s mother, Marie, suffered a knee injury and further malpractice upon treatment that dealt her permanent nerve damage. J-Jay has since been his mother’s caretaker. With his mother wheelchair-ridden and unable to work, the family experienced a period of homelessness.
After high school, J-Jay enrolled at his closest college option, La Salle University. “I did not really choose La Salle, but after reflecting on my experiences here, I believe La Salle chose me,” J-Jay said. He chose the pre-medical school path, chemistry and biology, because of his passion toward rehabilitating his mother. “I don’t want another child to see their mom deteriorate like I had to. I feel like it’s my personal responsibility to become a resource for others to rehabilitate themselves.”
J-Jay, who will walk for graduation in May aspires to become a rehabilitative sports physician. The senior La Salle student believes that through his Professor’s efforts and their belief in him, he was able to continually succeed and grow in his courses. “My professors let me be unapologetically myself, they believe in me and I am eternally grateful for my relationships with each of them,” he said. Apart from his support, J-Jay gave back to La Salle during COVID-19 through hours of volunteer work at the on-campus testing site and student wellness center under his mentor Dr. Scott Cook. He also became a Resident Assistant and acted as a student leader to unify student communities at school.
J-Jay applied for the PeproTech Diversity Scholarship and won over the summer, allowing him to enroll in his final semester at La Salle University this year. PeproTech launched this scholarship to demonstrate commitment to a more equitable and inclusive future for life sciences. The scholarship aims to foster an inclusive future and sought self-identified minority student applicants. Out of 400 applicants, PeproTech said to have chosen J-Jay upon his story “demonstrating great passion, drive and unique hardships,” and have since published an article on their website with J-Jay’s story. For more information on PeproTech, visit their website or send them a message through their contact page.
For a transcript of the interview with J-Jay refer here. To keep up with J-Jay’s journey, connect with him via linkedin or personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PeproTech is a biomedical engineering company located in East Windsor, New Jersey, that researches cell signaling proteins, cytokines, and manufactures over 2,000 high-quality supplies to the global health industry. The company was started by three visionary scientists in 1988 and has developed into a competent and widely trusted brand. PeproTech has over 100 employees and several offices around the world. Most importantly, the company is newly developing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to encourage diversification and inclusion in the larger scientific community. For more information on PeproTech, visit their website or send them a message through their contact page.