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Jacob Calvert

Jacob Calvert

Chief scientist, Dascena | Pursuing Ph.D. at Cal-Berkeley | Class of 2015

With three degrees in hand and a fourth in the works — all from world-renowned universities — Jacob Calvert has gotten to study under his fair share of professors.

But he’s never met one quite like Jennifer Amos, who stands out as “the most effective person I’ve ever known.”

Says the 2015 bioengineering grad, who earned master’s degrees from the universities of Bristol and Oxford and is now pursuing his Ph.D. at Cal:

“I met her during a visit day, with my anxious parents in tow. My school search ended shortly after we entered her office; she convinced us that UIUC was the right place for me. It was.

“When I retrace my most cherished experiences at UIUC, I find that Professor Amos shaped them all.

“When I expressed an interest in bioinformatics, Jenny was the one who connected me with a faculty member to begin research.

“When I thought classes outside the curriculum would best serve my goals, Jenny gave me the agency to pursue them.

“When I participated in community outreach efforts, Jenny was the one organizing them.

“Her influence extends beyond those four years. Since I’ve graduated, to put it idiomatically, Professor Amos has gone to bat for me countless times — and she bats a thousand.

“I’m similarly indebted to David Schug, the director of the National and International Scholarships Program.

“David shepherded me through the byzantine process of applying for a variety of nationally-competitive scholarships. These scholarships genuinely changed my life — not only because of their financial support, which, as an out-of-state student, I desperately needed — but also because the process of applying is inherently reflective.

“It is for this reason that David is uniquely qualified for his role. David is deeply thoughtful and exceedingly warm, equal parts philosopher and therapist. He uses his gifts to bring forth the best from students, mapping their experiences to their dreams, often in 1,000 words or fewer.

“I hope one day to be as good at what I do, as David is at what he does.”