Jessica Portillo awarded “Diversity Matters Award” from Duke Microbiome Center

On January 26, 2024, Jessica Portillo was awarded the “Diversity Matters Award” from the Duke Microbiome Center (DMC). Jessica is a grad student in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and a member of Raphael Valdivia's lab.

The DMC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental to the center’s success and excellence. Their ability to achieve these ends relies on the initiative, leadership, and engagement of our center members. The “Diversity Matters Award” is an annual award designed to recognize individuals within DMC laboratories that have made significant advances towards these ends within Duke and our broader scientific and geographic communities.

In the words of John Rawls, Director of the Duke Microbiome Center, 

“Jessica Portillo’s receipt of the DMC Diversity Matters Award recognizes her outstanding commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our Duke community. She is recognized for being an excellent scientist and colleague within her lab and neighboring labs, where she generously promotes a collaborative, supportive, considerate, and inclusive work environment. Outside of the lab, she is a member of the MGM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group, and represented that group at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) meeting this past fall 2023. She has also served as a mentor and communications director for Duke First, an organization for first-generation, low-income students. She is also a scholar in the Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE) program that helps promote diversity and inclusion at Duke. For these and other contributions, she was recently recognized by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Graduate Diversity Enrichment Program. For these many contributions to our Duke community as a scientist, student leader and role model, she is a deserving recipient of this year’s DMC Diversity Matters Award.”

The award is accompanied by a $500 prize which Jessica may use to support her research or DE&I work.