JSU chemistry student headed to Harvard Medical School

By Jean Gordon Cook

Ezana Demissie

(JACKSON, Miss.) –  During his first summer internship at Harvard Medical School, Jackson State University chemistry major Ezana Demissie realized he was as well prepared as the other interns who came from other top schools all over the country.

 “I was able to go toe-to-toe with them,” said Demissie, who will graduate on Saturday, May 7, during JSU’s undergraduate commencement ceremony at the Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. “That is due in large part to Jackson State. I believe the chemistry department has the best professors on campus.”

Armed with his JSU degree, Demissie will continue his studies this fall at Harvard Medical School, where he will pursue a Ph.D. in immunology.

“I want to work on third-world diseases,” the 22-year-old Ethiopian native said. “Infectious diseases, especially HIV, are a huge concern back home.”

As an immunologist, Demissie plans to work on developing treatments for HIV and AIDS. He hopes his research will encompass work in North America and Africa.

A graduate of the Piney Woods School in central Mississippi, Demissie earned a full scholarship to study chemistry at Jackson State University. He is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and an impressive body of scientific research. Working under the direction of JSU associate professor of chemistry Glake Hill, Demissie has gained extensive research experience in computational chemistry, has presented at several scientific meetings and co-authored one scientific research paper.

While at JSU, Demissie has been the go-to person for science students with questions about chemistry and mathematics. He tutored students in organic chemistry, calculus and physical chemistry, which are among the subjects many students fear most. He has been an active member of the student-affiliate chapters of the American Chemical Society and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists, where he served as president during 2009-2010. Demissie’s academic awards include the Best Chemistry Student Award (2008, 2009 and 2010), the President John A. Peoples Scholarship, the Soo and Kay Roh Scholarship and the American Deli Scholarship.

“The only thing that’s different about me from people back home is the opportunities I have been given,” Demissie said.

Jackson State University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. Ed Gordon, host of BET’s “Weekly with Ed Gordon,” will be the commencement speaker. The graduate ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. JSU President Carolyn Meyers will be the commencement speaker at the graduate ceremony.


Photo of Ezana Demissie: http://www.jsums.edu/announcements/Ezana.jpg


29 thoughts on “JSU chemistry student headed to Harvard Medical School


  2. Ezana, I received a score of congratulatory messages from family and friends to you, the faculty of J-State, Piney Woods School and Saint Joseph School (Addis Ababa) on your impressive work. They all wish you their best at Harvard. I join the group to once again congratulate you and all those involved in the processs and stress the fact that in your pursuit of knowledge to remain focused, principled, and above all God fearing. Love, Dad

  3. Excellent!! My best to you,Ezana, congrats to the faculty at Jackson State and to the faculty at the Piney Woods school. Sounds like he’s more than prepared for a very bright future!!

  4. I am so PROUD of you Ezana! Best wishes to you as you head to HARVARD! I will continue to look out for you in future articles as you continue your mission in achieving your goals and dreams! God Bless!!


  6. Congratulations Ezana! Keep It Up Because I’m Sure Their Are Various Of People Who Would Love To Pattern After You!! It’s A Huge Step And Just Know Everyone Can’t Do It!! GOOD LUCK AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY!!!

  7. Congratulations Ezana! I’m happy your hard work and perseverance has paid off. Keep it moving at Harvard!

  8. like president Obama said,students now days must study harder to keep up with the rest of the world.thank you young man for never giving up.you have made your people back home proud and as an alumnus of j-state fell nothing but honor for us all.thank you very much and GOD bless forever.

  9. Congratulations! We’re all very proud of this accomplishment. Additionally, I’m sure that you will make us all proud as a Harvard trained physician at the end of your journey.

    Quinton Williams

  10. Dear Ezana:
    Congratulations again for the excellent work you have done. You are a great example to both young and old. Kepp it up, it is just a start.

    Blessings and prayers,


  11. Awesome job! Congratulationsb to you, Dr. Hill and J-State! I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!

  12. HI Ezuye, you have been a great guy all along, hard working, loving, caring, humble and God Fearing. I am so overjoyed of your achievement and very proud of you. May God be with you as you continue the next and very important phase in your life!!. Keep up the good work and your Faith in God.


  13. Go Ezana! Making people proud wherever we are 🙂 looking forward to working with you in the future cuz 😉

  14. First my appreciation goes to JSU and its faculty members for providing an opporrtunity and guidaance to Ezana to undertake his undergrad work at JSU and second hats off to Ezana. Your impressive achievement is inspirational to folks back home. Keep up your good work at Harvard.

  15. Ezana, I am SO, SO PROUD of you! You were always there for me whenever I needed help, especially with chemistry my freshman year. You are going to do so well at Harvard! I’m sure you’ll still be the ray of light at Harvard and beyond as you were at Jackson State.


  17. This is an honor for you and for the university. Good luck to you in your pursuit of excellence at Harvaed!

  18. Teanastellen, Ezana. Congratulations on your accomplishments at Jackson State and best wishes for continued success.

    Check out the work of The Carter Center sometime, especially in Amhara.

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