Biophysics student Franklin Avilés-Vázquez was one of ten Johns Hopkins PhD students inducted into the University chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at a ceremony on Thursday, May 11. The society recognizes doctoral students’ academic achievements and their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Franklin J. Avilés-Vázquez is a PhD candidate in biophysics working to understand the molecular mechanisms of cohesion and DNA repair proteins following DNA damage. Before coming to Hopkins, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. Avilés-Vázquez cofounded the COVID-19 Coalition of Wisdom of Puerto Rico, known as COSACO, to fill education gaps and address difficulties in his hometown in Puerto Rico during the pandemic. COSACO became a leading educational resource where Avilés-Vázquez, as an executive director, organized more than 15 seminars on COVID-19 and more than 200 five-minute informative videos on local TV channels, reaching more than 300,000 Puerto Ricans.
At Hopkins, Avilés-Vázquez has mentored students and led events that advocate for diversity and inclusion in the scientific community. He has received several honors during his academic journey, including the Francis D. “Spike” Carlson Fellowship and an honorable mention in the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program in 2021. Avilés-Vázquez aims to use his scientific pursuits to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and serve society.
The Bouchet Society honors Edward Alexander Bouchet, who in 1876 became the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States. Designed to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence and who foster a community of support, the society recognizes students who serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for those who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.