St. Petersburg College alumnus Spenser Reed joins Class of 2014 Cornell University graduates on May 25 for the prestigious school’s commencement ceremony in Ithaca, NY. Reed completed a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Food Science and Nutritional Science, with a concentration in molecular nutrition.
A serious illness during high school did not keep him from pursuing his education. In fact, he spent most of his high school years in and out of hospitals, unable to go to school and compete in sports.
“Immense struggles with my health served to spur my passion for science and medicine and inspire me to pursue a career as a pediatric endocrinologist,” he said.
After graduating from high school, Spenser studied molecular biology and genetics at SPC, earning an A.A. Degree.
“Isaac Newton once said: ‘If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants,’” Reed said in a speech to the Florida Board of Education soon after graduation from SPC. “My faculty here are my true giants and SPC has provided a superb learning environment with which to realize my academic passions. As I look to the future I can say without a doubt that I am a more dedicated student, have a more inquisitive mind, and see my professional career more clearly because I am an SPC alum.”
After graduating from SPC, Reed transferred to Cornell where he dove into research and published three studies, two as first author. Before applying to medical schools, he plans to complete his research at Cornell and present at major conferences in San Diego, Brazil and Ethiopia.
“It has been so exciting to be involved in research at Cornell, especially in work that is so pertinent to public health and medicine,” said Reed. “I am working on a study now, in collaboration with Israeli scientists involving micronutrient deficiencies, which affect upwards of 4 billion people around the globe.”
- National Science Foundation Scholars
- Hunter Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholar
- SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
- President of the Honors College Consortium
- All-USA Community College Academic Team
- Florida Coca-Cola New Century Scholar
- SPC Presidents Award winner
His struggles, his achievements and his life serve as an inspiration to other students facing obstacles to their education.
“Whatever your passions are – whatever makes you tick – continue to explore your interests and continue to investigate how you can you can use your aptitudes to impact our world.”