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  • Posted Friday June 28, 2019

Arizona high school student discovers roadmap to her future through TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy

Two-week summer program inspires teen with a family history of brain disorders

PHOENIX, Ariz. — June 28, 2019 — After seeing Autism and Alzheimer’s disease impact her own family, Freya Abraham knew even as a preteen that she wanted to do something special to help.

“As I learned more about the brain, I became fascinated with its complexities, unique capabilities, and the fact that there was so much that we still do not understand about it,” said Freya, one of 20 Arizona high school students this summer attending TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.

“I want to discover more about neurological disorders and diseases, and one day be a part of bringing solutions to the people they impact,” said Freya, a senior this fall at Maricopa High School. She plans to attend an Arizona university and eventually become a doctor. “The experiences and interactions I’ve had so far in various scientific settings have reaffirmed that this is the path for me to pursue.”

TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy is supported by Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education.

As a member of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy the two-week program gave Freya the opportunity to explore genomic sequencing, lab techniques, scientific writing and speaking skills, science and law, social media for scientists, professional decorum, etiquette, networking, bioethics, resume writing, interviewing techniques, and more.

“In just its second year, we already can appreciate how important it is to have a program like TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy that is crafted especially for high-school students,” said Julie Euber, TGen Manager of Education and Outreach. “The students feel invested in the program, and even alumni from last year’s inaugural class of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy remain involved with TGen and are connecting with this year’s class.”

The TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy high school program builds on the 13-year success of Helios Scholars at TGen, a bioscience training program specifically designed for undergraduate, graduate and medical school students. 

“Immersing students like Freya in the work of a leading biomedical research facility, TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy is helping younger students advance to a higher academic level, preparing them — as with Helios Scholars at TGen — for success in college and career,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.

TGen receives hundreds of applications each year to both Helios Scholars at TGen and to TGen Biosciences Leadership Academy. Freya, who turns 17 in July, urges others interested in biosciences to apply to both programs. She already is planning to apply for next summer’s Helios program.

“The days fly by and when you return home, your mind is still buzzing with all the cool people and projects you saw,” Freya said. “The people — beyond the cutting-edge technology and latest developments — are really what makes these programs worthwhile. The TGen team and their partners are very welcoming and supportive; you can tell that they’re invested in seeing us succeed. In this kind of environment, growth is a certainty.”

Applicants for Bioscience Leadership Academy must be 16 by the time the program starts, and in the fall be entering their junior or senior year of high school. Only one student is selected from any one Arizona high school each year, ensuring participation from 20 schools. Each Academy participant receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Applications for the 2020 summer sessions of both TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy and Helios Scholars at TGen will open online in January and close in February. For more information, please contact Julie Euber at: [email protected] or 602-343-8459, or go to

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About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to achieve a postsecondary education. The Foundation’s work is driven by four fundamental beliefs in Community, Investment, Equity and Partnership.  Helios invests in programs and initiatives across the full education continuum – from early grade success through postsecondary education. In Arizona, where Latino students comprise the largest percentage of the K-12 public school population, the Foundation is implementing its Arizona Latino Student Success initiative focused on preparing all students - especially students in high poverty, underserved Latino communities - for success.  Through Helios’ Florida Regional Student Success Initiative, the Foundation is helping underserved, minority, first-generation students from the state's large population centers in Miami, Orlando and Tampa achieve a postsecondary education. 
Since 2006, the Foundation has invested more than $200 million in education programs and initiatives in both states. To learn more about Helios, visit us online at

Media Contact:
Rebecca Lindgren
Vice President, Marketing Communications
Helios Education Foundation
[email protected]

About TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results.  TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases:  This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen.  TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit).  TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children.  Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: Follow TGen on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.

Media Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
[email protected]

Media Contact

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