prestigious J. Edgar Hoover Foundation Scientific Scholarship is
awarded to one student in the United States each year, and 2011’s
recipient was Jessica Placido ’07GP, ‘12Pharm.D.
This hard-working and humble graduate student, currently pursuing a
Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in
Toxicology, won the award this past May by edging out an elite pool
of applicants. St. John’s was one of only 12 institutions
nationwide that qualified to nominate a student for this
“I can’t tell you how honored I am to receive this award,” Placido
said. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, my
friends and the entire College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.”
Placido’s doctoral thesis focuses on controlled substances and drug
abuse, an area that is quickly gaining the attention of the
toxicology community. “Many people today abuse prescription drugs
by combining them with alcohol,” she explained. “That allows the
user to feel the effects of the drugs for a longer period of time.
But that combination can also be deadly.”
Joseph D’Angelo ’52CBA, ’88HON is the Vice President of the J.
Edgar Hoover Foundation and came to the Queens campus to personally
deliver the $25,000 scholarship check to Placido.
“What’s most impressive about Jessica’s accomplishment is that she
had such significant competition,” D’Angelo said. “The finalists
all came from excellent, excellent schools. But Jessica really
impressed us, especially with her fantastic essay. There was a
sense of humility yet brilliance in what she wrote.”
Placido was honored to receive the award from such an accomplished
graduate of the University.
“That makes the scholarship so much more special,” she noted.
“Joseph D’Angelo is such a great man, so to receive the check
personally from him is very, very special.”
Placido plans on using the scholarship money to purchase additional
research equipment that will benefit her doctoral research at St.
John’s and strengthen the analytical performance of her laboratory
within the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.