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Aug 19, 2015

Vertex Awards Two Boston Public High School Students the Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship to the University of Massachusetts

Hosts August 19th back to school event with Bottom Line for 200+ first-generation college students

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Vertex and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) today announced the recipients of the annual Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship, a four-year scholarship to pursue their education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at any UMass campus. The annual scholarship is part of a broad program developed by Vertex to enhance STEM education for Boston's youth.

This year's recipients are two students from Excel High School.

  • Cankang Wu plans to study engineering at UMass Amherst. Cankang emigrated with his family from China and will be the first to attend college. As a child he developed an early interest in engineering and technology after spending his days at his father's wood-processing factory.
  • Gladynel Baez will attend UMass Boston to study biology and has aspirations of becoming a doctor. She was inspired to pursue a career in science after losing two aunts and her grandfather to cancer and spending time in Vertex's Learning Lab.

In 2012 Vertex solidified its commitment to STEM education and Boston's youth through a comprehensive program that includes:

  • Annual four-year Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship to a UMass campus;
  • Thomas M. Menino Learning Lab - a 3,000 square foot classroom and laboratory space in our Fan Pier campus dedicated to enhancing science education among Boston Public School students;
  • High school and college internships;
  • Science Fair Mentorship program - students are paired with a Vertex mentor and receive guidance on science fair projects at the school and state level.

"Vertex is committed to developing the next generation of scientific leaders by sparking and fostering an early interest in science," said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. "Our programs fill an important need for hands-on training and will help reduce achievement and access gaps for underserved students, while preparing them for a bright future in life sciences. For the past two years Cankang and Gladynel grew with Vertex as interns and spent extensive time in our Learning Lab. We're delighted to see the tremendous passion they've developed for STEM."

"In order for our young people to have bright futures, we must do our part to create the opportunities that foster pathways to success," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I thank Vertex for continuing to support our future and our community, and congratulate Cankang and Gladynel on these deserving honors."

"We are honored to welcome Cankang and Gladynel to the UMass family," said University of Massachusetts President Martin T. Meehan. "We share Vertex's commitment to investing in Boston's youth and enhancing science education in the community."

This year Vertex also is partnering with Bottom Line, an organization that helps underserved, first-generation students get into college and succeed through mentoring and support throughout their college careers. Today, August 19, 2015 Vertex will host Bottom Line's Annual Success Send-Off Event to celebrate the start of school for more than 200 first-generation college students who are part of the Bottom Line program. Students like Cankang and Gladynel will participate in team building activities and have the opportunity to meet their Bottom Line Success Counselor and other Bottom Line students attending the same college in the fall.

"We're proud of these students and all the hard work they've put into their academics to get them here," said Mike Wasserman, Massachusetts Executive Director at Bottom Line. "It's partnerships like this, with Vertex and UMass, that allow us to provide guidance and support for students who want to thrive and grow, particularly in this next chapter of their lives and we can't wait to see the great things they accomplish."

About Vertex
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that aims to discover, develop and commercialize innovative medicines so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. In addition to our clinical development programs focused on cystic fibrosis, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs aimed at other serious and life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex today has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. For five years in a row, Science magazine has named Vertex one of its Top Employers in the life sciences. For additional information and the latest updates from the company, please visit

About the University of Massachusetts
The University of Massachusetts has been serving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with dedication and distinction for the past 150 years and is consistently rated as one of the world's best universities. Each year UMass educates more than 70,000 students and confers more than 15,000 degrees at its five campuses located in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester.

About Bottom Line
Bottom Line was founded in Boston in 1997 to help low-income and first-generation students get into college, graduate from college and go far in life. The organization serves approximately 3,000 high school seniors and college students from Boston and Worcester.


Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Jenna McPhee, 617-341-6536
Cell: 617-366-7263
University of Massachusetts
Pamela Jonah, 617-878-2018
Cell: 781-956-6865
Bottom Line
Jessica Dionne, 617-692-0543
Cell: 860-977-1041

Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

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