We are happy to announce that Crystal Lee, daughter Elijah Lee of Xerox, is the winner of the 2020 Abraham Chatman Scholarship. Crystal is attending RIT where she is majoring in Biotechnology and Molecular Science.

Crystal says that she “felt very honored and appreciative” when she learned that she was the winner. Her parents were pleased as well, “We were excited and very proud that our daughter was chosen to receive this prestigious scholarship.”

After graduating from Greece Arcadia High School, Crystal increased her hours at Wegmans, where she worked as a pharmacy technician. This job allowed her to save more money for college. While she started out as a Biotechnology and Molecular Science major, Crystal has decided to switch to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in the next semester. 

I originally chose Biotechnology because I had decided to work toward a PhD in gene therapy. It is my dream to research immunotherapy and possibly focus on a rare disease that does not get enough attention. I became invested in this career because I have several family members with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and pemphigus vulgaris. When I decided to do my own research, I found it fascinating that the immune system could attack healthy tissues and wanted to know the cause. When looking more into the program, I learned that compared to biotechnology, it had a greater focus on genomics and proteomics.

When asked if she had any thoughts that she wanted to share with members and their children, here is what she had to say:

Your career choice may not be something that comes easily to you. You must expose yourself to many subjects and ideas to narrow down your interests. For example, I have been interested in all fields of science since 6th grade. I chose a wide variety of science classes to take, which greatly narrowed down my interests. Since early elementary school, my career choice went from an archaeologist, to astronomist, to geologist, to veterinarian, then surgeon, to medical scientist, then finally an immunologist/ gene therapist.  Everything I learned in school has helped me decide what subjects I enjoyed and disliked. In addition, I was able to narrow down my strengths and weakness. Choosing a career takes time and is not something that should be rushed. I finally decided what I wanted to do in late 11th grade.

Elijah Lee is a member of Local 14-A, Xerox. Her mother, Sylvia Lee is the Director of Community Outreach and Training Programs at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Her sister, Christina Lee, is self-employed and a student at Monroe Community College.

For those who are interested in applying for the Chatman Scholarship, the award allows $2,000 per year for as many as four years for a total of $8,000. All dependent children of union members attending an accredited two- or four-year college are eligible. You can learn more about this scholarship by visiting The Community Foundation website:


and searching for “Chatman.”

Congratulations to Crystal and her family.

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