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Aug 16, 2018

Vertex Awards Two College Students Full Scholarships to the University of Massachusetts

-- Boston Public High School Students Nora Nguyen and Sonny Mei Receive Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship to Pursue STEAM Degrees at UMass --

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 16, 2018-- Vertex today announced the recipients of the annual Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship, a four-year, full-ride scholarship to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering, art or math (STEAM) at any University of Massachusetts campus. The scholarship is part of Vertex’s 10-year, $500 million corporate giving commitment focused on expanding our commitment to STEAM education; providing patient and caregiver support including access to our medicines; developing young physicians and scientists; and investing in our communities.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Nora Nguyen from Boston International Newcomers Academy and Sonny Mei from John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Both students are passionate about applying their education to solve some of society’s most pressing health care and environmental challenges, and will study at the University of Massachusetts Amherst this fall.

“As a leading biotech company that has grown up in Massachusetts’ thriving innovation ecosystem, we need to do our part to provide the next generation of scientists and researchers with the opportunities they need to reach their full potential,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. “We’re incredibly proud to support Nora and Sonny as they take this next step in their journey to pursue their passions and explore a future career in STEAM.”

Before they head to college, Nora and Sonny are spending their summers as Vertex interns, alongside more than 30 other Boston Public High School (BPS) students. During their internships, Nora and Sonny spend mornings in the lab and the rest of the day in other functional departments within the business for professional development.

"I want to thank Vertex for creating this opportunity for graduates of Boston Public Schools," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.This annual scholarship has provided young Bostonians with a path to college and is an investment in the future of our City. To Nora and Sonny, congratulations, I’m proud of you, and I can’t wait to see what your future has in store."

"We are thrilled to welcome Nora and Sonny to the University of Massachusetts and congratulate them for their accomplishments,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “We commend Vertex for their efforts to connect talented Boston Public Schools students with the transformative opportunities at UMass, which is the largest contributor of STEAM graduates to the Commonwealth’s economy.”

Vertex has so far awarded nine full Science Leaders Scholarships to BPS students. In addition to receiving financial support, scholars have access to Vertex’s summer internships and formal mentorship programs, as well as support from Bottom Line, an organization Vertex partners with to ensure students have the support they need to succeed during their college years and beyond.

“Nora and Sonny are exemplary young leaders with promising futures ahead of them,” said BPS Interim Superintendent Laura Perille. "I am so grateful for the Vertex Science Leaders Scholarship program, which continues to recognize the vast talent within our district by providing financial support, critical professional experience, and invaluable mentoring programs for our students.”

In 2017, Vertex made a 10-year, $50 million commitment to STEAM education that includes an ongoing partnership with BPS and a number of core programs aimed at expanding hands-on learning opportunities for students of all ages. In addition to the Science Leaders Scholarship, these programs include:

  • Thomas M. Menino Learning Lab- A 3,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory space that provides local students the opportunity to work alongside Vertex scientists to conduct experiments with cutting-edge technologies. The Learning Lab also hosts professional development workshops for teachers and provides mentorship opportunities for students. More than 1,000 students attended science classes or workshops in the Learning Lab this year.
  • High school and college internships - Students gain real-world professional experience and exposure to careers in STEAM. This summer, approximately 35 high school students and 190 college students joined us for internships in our labs and across the business.
  • Community partnerships - Over the last six years, Vertex has developed strong relationships with organizations like Bottom Line, Hack.Diversity and i2 Learning to expose students to STEAM opportunities at every point along their educational journey — from grade school to graduate school. Most recently, Vertex launched the Vertex Discovery Camp, a two-week summer camp, in partnership with i2Learning and BPS, where more than 100 girls and underserved youth from a handful of BPS middle schools learned how to code and perform crime scene investigations as a way to engage in STEAM concepts.

About Vertex
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition to clinical development programs in CF, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs focused on the underlying mechanisms of other serious diseases.

Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex's headquarters is now located in Boston'sInnovation District. Today, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry's top places to work, including being named to Science magazine's Top Employers in the life sciences ranking for eight years in a row.

For additional information and the latest updates from the company, please visit


Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

Heather Nichols, 617-961-0534
BPS Communications Office, 617-635-9265
For University of Massachusetts
Jeff Cournoyer, 978-935-8521 (mobile)
617-287-7377 (office)