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Doctoral student awarded prestigious Ford Foundation fellowship

Friday, Sept. 9, 2022



MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University doctoral student has been named a Ford Foundation Predoctoral fellow by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Arnaldo X. Torres-Hernandez, a doctoral student in chemistry, Puerto Rico, is one of 77 predoctoral fellows selected in 2022.

The Ford Fellowship Programs seek to increase the diversity of the nation's college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximizing the educational benefits of diversity, and increasing the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Torres-Hernandez works in the Rafferty Research Lab under the supervision of Ryan Rafferty, assistant professor of chemistry. He plans to utilize his fellowship in the area of therapeutic discovery by enhancing the penetration of potential antibiotics into bacteria using nanoparticles and magnetic fields.

"I am investigating and developing new strategies and methodologies to enhance the general transport of non-endogenous — or outside — agents into both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria while decreasing uptake in surrounding non-targeted cells," Torres-Hernandez said.

Torres-Hernandez honors include the Graduate Cancer Research Award from the Johnson Cancer Research Center, Bershield and Destadt Summer Fellowship and two honorable mentions in the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship competition.

At K-State, Torres-Hernandez is a member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, Sign Language Club and Phi Lambda Upsilon, the national chemistry honor society.

While a university student in Puerto Rico, he received several honors for his undergraduate research, including travel awards to the American Chemical Society National Meeting & Expo, the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Other honors included the President's Award for a high GPA; the Sor Isolina Ferré Award, which recognizes excellence in social-religious work during a student's years of studies at Pontifical Catholic University; the Luis Torres Nadal Award for his work with a university theatre group; and membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Torres-Hernandez's career goals include leading an accessible chemistry lab where he can teach chemistry to the deaf community.


Jim Hohenbary


Ford Fellowship Programs


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Arnaldo X. Torres-Hernandez, doctoral student in chemistry at Kansas State University, is a Ford Foundation Predoctoral fellow.

Written by

Michelle Geering