John Jay Alum Renise Baptiste Is Helping Find a Cure to Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital | John Jay College of Criminal Justice
John Jay Alum Renise Baptiste Is Helping Find a Cure to Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital

John Jay Alum Renise Baptiste Is Helping Find a Cure to Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital

John Jay Alum Renise Baptiste Is Helping Find a Cure to Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital

Renise Baptiste grew up in Dominica, and when she was 19 years old, she decided to move to Texas to pursue a career in the sciences. But as someone who comes from a family of lawyers, she soon realized that it wasn’t just the sciences she wanted to study, but also justice. After visiting New York and seeing John Jay’s campus, she decided to apply to the Forensic Science program as a transfer student.

“At John Jay, I saw that one of the main topics was being an advocate for humanity and social justice. Traditionally, in science, there’s a gap there,” she said.

Renise stayed at the New Yorker Hotel with several other out-of-state and international students, where she kept busy balancing her work as a Resident Advisor as well as her responsibilities as a student. She found that the Forensic Science program was rigorous and often difficult, but for Renise, who loves spending time in the lab, her studies were equipping her with the professional skills she would need to land her first job out of college.

“For students who want a specific career path, the program was great,” she said. “The Forensic Science program at John Jay gave me exactly what I needed because I majored specifically in molecular biology, and I went on to work in a molecular biology lab.”

After graduating in 2014, Renise became a Research Assistant at The Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where she worked to clone antibodies to prevent HIV. From there, she decided to pursue her Master’s in Public Health and Preventive Medicine through the Southern New Hampshire University’s online program, which Rockefeller fully funded. “I was still an assistant and I told my boss I wanted to learn more,” she said. “I wanted to learn specifically about immunology.”

It was with her supervisor’s support that she then applied and was hired for her current position at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital as a Senior Research Technician in the Genetic Core Facility, where she is learning about immunotherapy research and designing antibodies to prevent cancer.

“For some people this might be boring or hectic, but this is my passion,” she said. “I enjoy what I do on the day to day. I’m contributing to humanity and helping people feel better.”

Renise’s future in research and medicine looks promising. Now that she has recently completed her Master’s program, Renise plans to begin her PhD soon, possibly in cancer research. “I see myself as a go-getter,” she said.

For Renise, whose educational pursuit brought her from the West Indies to Texas to finally John Jay, the opportunities provided by the College were immeasurable. “John Jay was the perfect place to forge a pathway for myself,” she said.