My name is Fudhah Alkhafaji, and I go by Silver. My name in Arabic means Silver when translated to English! I grew up in Iraq, lived in Jordan for seven years, and moved to the United States in 2013. While at Cal, I majored in Chemical Biology in the College of Chemistry. Outside of class and lab, I enjoyed being a part of the ISP Hydrogen Chapter National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry, where I participate in outreach activities to invite students from all backgrounds to our discussions on issues relating to women in science. In addition, I had the privilege to mentor newly-admitted transfer students through the Major Insights mentorship program, directed by the Transfer Student Center. Being a part of this program allowed me to provide one-on-one support and introduce campus resources to students who come from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. After graduation in 2019, I interned in the Department of Discovery Oncology at Genentech where I was hosted by my Bergeron industry mentor, Dr. Shiva Malek. Interning in the Malek’s lab confirmed my interest in the pharmaceutical industry, drug development, and oncology therapeutics. After the internship, I joined the Clinical Pharmacology Department as a Scientific Researcher, supporting small-molecule projects in the oncology portfolio by performing/delivering pharmacokinetic analyses and clinical reports. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics (PSPG) program at UCSF. Outside of seminars and lab, I enjoy planning DEI events and invite speakers to my program to raise awareness around current issues related to social justice and equity. In my free time, I write reflections on my blog, read poetry, and try new yoga routines!
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Being a part of NERDS (Bergeron Scholars Program, specifically) impacted my academic and professional journey vastly. I am inspired by fellow NERDS who are passionate about their studies and making breakthroughs in their fields of interest. I appreciate having a study space that is very warm and welcoming. With access to free Python workshops, I was able to learn more about this programming language and interact with a diverse group of intelligent students. NERDS introduced me to resources and grants on and off-campus that helped me navigate the system more comfortably and confidently. In addition, I have had the privilege to meet with and get to know professional women in STEM who are willing to give advice and guidance to young women in STEM. Through NERDS, I was introduced to my industry mentor; and for that, I am enormously grateful.