BioCORE Scholars Program

The BioCORE Scholars Program at Seattle Pacific University supports ethnic minority and first-generation college students traditionally underrepresented in biological and biomedical sciences. This leadership program works to build community, promote academic success, and create mentoring networks. BioCORE scholars participate in weekly study workshops and perform authentic research during a summer internship at SPU. In addition, scholars are paired with peer and faculty mentors and network with professional scientists in quarterly pizza meetings.

Applications for the 2024 BioCORE Scholars cohort are now closed. We will begin recruiting for the 2025 cohort in September 2024.

Follow us on Instagram to keep up with the latest BioCORE Scholars news and events!

Give to the BioCORE Scholars Program

SPU Giving Day is on April 3, 2024! If 10 people give to the BioCORE Scholars program during Giving Day, an additional $100 will be donated to the program (thanks to the generosity of an anonymoous donor). If the BioCORE Scholars Program has the greatest number of donors among all of the campaigns, then we will receive an additional $1500. Please help us continue to support present and future BioCORE Scholars with your donation - no amount is too small. Please check our Giving Day page for updates.

Learn more about the BioCORE Scholars Program

(Many thanks to David Rither in Educational Technology & Media for creating this video.)

The BioCORE Scholars Program was also featured in The Falcon, SPU's student newspaper, The article, "BioCORE encourages community" was written by Lu Aleman and appeared on Oct. 24, 2018.

Congratulations to the BioCORE Scholars Class of 2023!

Slideshow LinkPinning Ceremony Photos

Photo of the six graduating BioCORE Scholars

During a special ceremony in June, the BioCORE Scholars Program honored our six graduating Scholars. Each Scholar was formally presented and pinned by a faculty or staff member of their choosing. Our graduates are:

  • Ayysta Htoo, BS Physiology
  • Insiya Nehal, BS Physiology
  • Geana Nicolas, BS Physiology
  • Ivy Ta, BS Physiology
  • Niyah Thurman, BS Biology
  • Esmeralda Vazquez-Sagrero, BA General Studies (Life Science emphasis)

Congratulations to all of our graduates - we are very proud of you!!

Learn more about the first four graduating classes of BioCORE Scholars.

BioCORE Scholars and Mentors

Slideshow LinkPhotos of previous cohorts

The 2023 BioCORE Scholars cohort and peer mentors

Meet our 2023 BioCORE Scholars, Peer Mentors and Learning Assistant! Front Row, from left: Peer Mentors Angie Moten, Ayysta Htoo, Bella Camarillo, Geana Nicolas, Insiya Nehal, and Guillermo Reyes.
Second Row, from left: Gum Nau (Learning Assistant), Scholars Rosie Alvarez-Rabadan, Mercy Kim, Arlet Diaz Romero, and Chantli Adams.
Back Row, from left: Scholars Luis Perez-Aguilar, TaiAmari English-Henderson, Evan Schubert, Brittany Hartshorn, Makala Bogle, Faith Toi, Joanna Rios Garcia, Lidia Gebrewolde, and Farah Boswell. Not pictured: Krysta Reese (Learning Assistant)

BioCORE Scholars Research Symposium

BioCORE Scholars Research Students

Members of the 2022 BioCORE Scholars cohort spent winter and/or spring quarters working with SPU Biology faculty in their labs, and presented their research at the annual BioCORE Scholars Research Symposium on May 25, 2023. The scholars and their projects were:

Please also see previous Research Week students and mentors.

BioCORE Scholars Activities

Slideshow LinkBioCORE Scholars Activities and Events

Umoja BioPharma scientists and BioCORE Scholars

BioCORE Scholars regularly participate in community-building and networking activities, including social outings, meetings with researchers and health care professionals, and other events.

Above: BioCORE Scholars attend the quarterly Speakers' Meeting in Octobers 2023, with special guests, a panel of scientists from Umoja BioPharma.  The scientists, representing a diverse range of backgrounds, educational experiences and research positions, described their career paths and gave the Scholars great advice on getting positions in the biotech industry. One of the scientists, Erica Shirazi, is an alumnus of SPU (BS Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2019).

In the photo above, left to right: (back) Sunny Cheema, Isabela Schubert, Elena Fulton (Umoja BioPharma), Dr. Justin Ulrich-Lewis (Umoja BioPharma); (middle) Helen Kim (Umoja BioPharma), Farrah Boswell, Lay Paw, Christine Luu (Umoja BioPharma), Dr. Mollie McDonnell (Umoja BioPharma), Erica Shirazi (Umoja BioPharma), Brittney Hartshorn, Faith Toj, Makayla Bogle; (front) Gursagar Singh, Victor Castillo, Arlet Diaz Romero

Faculty Contact

Jenny Tenlen

Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Biology
PhD, University of Washington

Phone: 206-281-2007
Office: Eaton 113
First Generation student

Elena Brezynski

Associate Professor of Biology
PhD, Monash University

Phone: 206-281-2985
Office: Marston 249

2015 BioCORE Scholars and Peer Mentors

BioCORE Scholars Program

Learn how Leslie Rodriguez-Salas '19 and Diana Cabrera '17 found community and academic support as part of the BioCORE Scholars Program.

Elena Brezynski

Why I Teach at SPU

Elena Brezynski, Assistant Professor of Biology

“What I enjoy most is being in a classroom or lab talking with my students about biology. With the small class sizes at SPU, I know my students well and they know me. Questions and discussions flow best in smaller groups, and active, lively participation is the way students make critical connections among biological topics.”