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Second class of Sam Taylor life sciences scholarship recipients named 

Taylor scholarship recipients Stephanie Alston, Gage Lindley and Ayonna Sawyer at the 2022 NCBIO Annual Meeting
Taylor scholarship recipients Stephanie Alston, Gage Lindley and Ayonna Sawyer at the 2022 NCBIO Annual Meeting

The second class of recipients of the Samuel M. Taylor Memorial Life Sciences Scholarship in the NC Community Colleges Foundation has been named. This year, five scholarships have been awarded. 

The scholarships are for students enrolled in agricultural biotechnology, biopharmaceutical technology, biotechnology, bioprocess technology, clinical trials research associate, facility maintenance technology and medical laboratory technology programs in the state’s community colleges. The awards honor Sam Taylor, long-time president of NCBIO, the NC Biosciences Organization, who died in 2021 of pancreatic cancer. 

The five 2022 scholarship recipients are 

  • Gregory Ackerson of Winterville, who is studying biotechnology at Pitt Community College; 
  • Stephanie Alston of Wake Forest, who is studying clinical trials research at Durham Tech. This is her second year as a Taylor scholarship recipient; 
  • Gage Lindley of Siler City, who is studying biotechnology at Central Carolina Community College;
  • Keshia Sauls of Clayton, who is studying bioprocess technology at Johnston Community College; and
  • Ayonna Sawyer of Cofield, who is studying medical laboratory technology at College of the Albemarle. 

“We are so gratified by all the organizations and individuals who have stepped up to honor Sam’s legacy and extend our sincere thanks to them,” said NCBIO President Laura Gunter. “Sam knew that an educated and qualified workforce is needed to drive the discovery and innovation for which the industry is known. He especially wanted our state’s citizens to have the educational opportunities and resources they need to have outstanding careers in the life sciences.” 

Taylor pushed to create the internationally recognized NCBioImpact training collaborative with the NC Community College System’s BioNetwork program, as well as the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center at North Carolina State University and the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise program at North Carolina Central University. 

Taylor was honored at the March 2022 opening of Wake Tech’s Lilly Science and Technology Center by having the building’s BioWork Lab named for him. 

Gifts and pledges totaling more than $220,000 have been made for the Taylor scholarship fund as of the end of August. Leadership gifts have come from Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Biogen and Hatteras Venture Partners. Grifols, Novo Nordisk, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and Smith Anderson have also made significant contributions.   

NCBIO has set a goal of raising $250,000 to create an endowed fund that will provide at least four scholarships a year in perpetuity.