University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing third-year Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) student Jacqueline Vo, BSN, RN, has been selected for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) – the first from the School chosen for this prestigious fellowship.
Vo, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar and recipient of a two-year, American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing, was awarded the four-year postdoctoral fellowship in the NCI multidisciplinary program for early scientists training in cancer prevention and control. She was one of 12 scholars chosen for the 2018 cohort from 112 applicants across a wide range of research fields.
Vo credited her selection from among the highly-competitive field to her education at UAB School of Nursing and to the help and support of her mentor, Associate Dean of Research and Professor Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN.
“What has really set my career in motion is coming here to train at the UAB School of Nursing under Dr. Meneses,” Vo said. “Because I came here, I now have this incredible opportunity to go to NCI. This is the biggest accomplishment of my life, and I am honored to be the first from the School to receive this fellowship.”
Meneses is pleased that the selection committee took into account all of Vo’s outstanding attributes in extending her this honor.
“Her intelligence, stamina, perseverance and excitement about nursing, and interdisciplinary research clearly shine through. She is most deserving of this honor and makes us happy to count her as one of our own in everything she does,” Meneses said. “I am so proud of Jacqueline and all she has accomplished in her years here at the UAB School of Nursing, first as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) student and now as a PhD student.”
Since the inception of the Fellowship in 1987, very few nurses have been chosen. Vo, a former staff nurse in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at UAB Hospital, said the selection committee was impressed that she has clinical experience as a bedside nurse to supplement extensive training as a nurse researcher.
“They loved that I had clinical experience and that I had interacted with patients,” said Vo, who earned her BSN from the School in 2014. “The interviewers saw that I bring a whole different perspective to research because I have had that patient interaction.”
After she graduates in August 2018, Vo’s training will include earning a master’s in public health in her first year in the fellowship at a graduate school to be determined. She will then receive three years of training at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, where she will continue to focus on identifying and addressing cardiovascular risk among the growing population of long-term breast cancer survivors with her project, “Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Breast Cancer Survivors.”
She is grateful for the opportunity to continue building a bridge between her experience in the cardiovascular field and her passion for helping breast cancer survivors. She also relishes training within the organization she has dreamed of working for some day.
“As an aspiring cancer research scientist, the National Cancer Institute is where you want to go,” Vo said. “To have this opportunity at this place goes beyond anything I could ever dream of. It is going to set my career path for the rest of my life.”
Vo has worked collaboratively with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the James and John Kirklin Institute for Research in Surgical Outcomes and other partners of the School as part of her studies. She credits those experiences with making her a well-rounded student and opening doors to other possibilities. Finally, she is hopeful her success will inspire other nurses to consider following the same path.
“I didn’t realize how many opportunities the UAB School of Nursing has provided me until something like this happened, and then I knew just how many resources the School has,” Vo said. “I want all undergraduate nursing students to realize this, too. I want them to realize there is a whole other route they can take in the field of research. Opportunities of a lifetime start here, and I want everyone to realize that if I can do it, they can, too.”
With a focus on addressing one of the most important scientific and public health goals of the 21st century, the Fellowship provides state-of-the-art training in cancer prevention and control as the foundation for scientists, clinicians, researchers and others who are committed to eliminating death and suffering from cancer.
Vo tapped for NCI Fellowship
Vo first from School selected, will study heart disease, breast cancer link