CLEMSON — Senior biochemistry and genetics major Jason Erno of Columbia is the recipient of Alpha Lambda Delta’s Maria Leonard Graduate Fellowship in the amount of $6,500 for the 2019-20 academic year. Erno will use the fellowship stipend toward his pursuit of a degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. Erno is scheduled to graduate from Clemson University on May 10.
Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) is a national honor society that recognizes students’ academic success during their first year at a college or university. Alpha Lambda Delta provides 26 graduate fellowships annually from a national pool of competitive applicants. Erno, a native of Columbia, was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta in 2016.
“It’s great to be honored for your entire undergraduate experience,” Erno said. “Having ALD recognize that is meaningful. The application process allowed me to reflect on everything I worked on for four years. It doesn’t seem real that four years have passed, but now as I look back, my undergraduate experience has been so valuable. Earning the fellowship helped enhance that realization.”
Erno has been involved in a number of clubs and organizations during his time at Clemson, and he credits each of them for diversifying his experience. He joined Clemson Undergraduate Student Government and served on the judicial board, which provided practical skills such as public speaking and interview experience. He also joined the American Medical Student Association, a student-governed organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training.
The Spring Valley High School graduate desires to combine two of his passions and pursue a career in pediatric oncology. In the summer of 2013, both of his grandparents were diagnosed with cancer. He wants to help families who are going through that process. He has spent time working with young people through his association with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, as well as through volunteering at the children’s hospital with Prisma Health-Upstate.
“Most of the jobs I’ve had in my life have been working with kids,” he explained. “I love the interaction. I also want to help other families who may be going through what I went through with multiple family members suffering from cancer.”
Erno — who has also been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa — credits his involvement with leadership and honor societies in building the idea of working with high-achieving individuals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. He served as ALD’s vice president as a sophomore before assuming the presidency his junior year. Erno is also a member of Clemson’s National Scholars Program.
“Getting involved with the community and making an impact while going to school was really important to me,” he said. “Clemson has been great from the standpoint of allowing me to enhance the areas I’m interested in.”
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