News Global Health Center Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging

Cora Faith Walker Foundation, others sponsor students in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health

The 2023 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program has ended but the generous individuals and organizations that helped students from around the U.S. and Ireland attend the program will not soon be forgotten. The 2023 eight-week summer program hosted 34 students from 15 different universities to engage in three research tracks, Public and Global Health, Aging and Neurological Diseases and the RADIANCE track (heart and blood disorders).

In addition to support for each of the three research tracks, individuals and organizations can choose to sponsor a student for the summer. This award funds travel costs to and from St. Louis, and food and lodging, which enables student scholars to live for eight weeks on or near the WashU campus.

A new supporter of the 2023 summer program is the Cora Faith Walker Foundation, named for St. Louis Representative, WashU graduate and champion of reproductive justice and health equity, Cora Faith Walker, who died unexpectedly in March 2022 at age 37. Led by Walker’s parents, Edward and Robyn Drew, the Cora Faith Walker Foundation sponsored the 2023 inaugural Cora Faith Walker Scholar, Celeste Sangster. The Drews visited the program in late July, to meet Sangster and watch her final symposium presentation on her summer research project.

Inaugural Cora Faith Walker Scholar, Celeste Sangster presents on her summer research project

“For the Foundation, it’s an opportunity for us to continue the initiatives to help people that Cora Faith started,” said Edward Drew, Walker’s father. “She was always giving and loved lifting people up, so she would be delighted with this sponsorship.” Walker’s mother, Robyn Drew added, “Cora believed in the transformative experience that she had as a WashU student. This was one of the reasons we wanted to partner with the university to continue that experience for students like Celeste. We hope that the number [of sponsored students] will continue to grow.”

Sangster commented that she is thrilled to be the inaugural Cora Faith Walker scholar. “I was so surprised to be accepted and this has been an incredible experience. I am incredibly thankful and grateful.” Sangster wrote a blog post reflecting on her summer program experiences. Upon meeting the Drews, Sangster reiterated that Ms. Walker’s fearless approach to eliminating disparities in maternal, reproductive and mental health is something to which she aspires.

Cora Faith Walker’s parents Edward Drew, left, and Robyn Drew, right, pose for a photo just after meeting inaugural Cora Faith Walker Scholar, Celeste Sangster, center

Through support of the Summer Research Program, students who may not otherwise have the opportunity can attend the program. In 2023, participating students, staff and program leaders acknowledge the generous support of the following:  

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (RADIANCE track)

Children’s Discovery Institute (Public & Global Health track)

National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke provided through NIH Summer Research Education Experience Programs (Aging and Neurological Diseases track)

The following individuals and organizations generously sponsored these 2023 Summer Research Program students:  

Schilsky Family Summer Research Scholar, Meti Abdella

Mark and Cathleen Reifsteck Summer Research Scholars, Maeve Fahy & Natasha Zimmerman

Little Medical School Scholar, Olivia Kim

University College Dublin Scholar, Justin O’Hagan

Cora Faith Walker Scholar, Celeste Sangster

SPRIGHT Scholars, William (Will) Sayre & Caitlin Shin

Amelia Jane Brown Johnson Memorial Award Scholar, Bijay Shrestha

Gold Family Summer Research Scholar, Alexandria (Alex) Swanson

Read more about 2023 sponsors and student scholars.

To support the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program please visit our giving page for more information.