Souery, Xu Receive Prestigious BU Women’s Guild Scholarship Awards

(Left to right) CDS PhD Students Whitney Souery, Lingyi Xu

Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) PhD students Whitney Souery and Lingyi Xu received 2024 Boston University Women’s Guild (BUWG) Scholarship Awards at the annual BUWG lunch and ceremony on May 23. The event was held at the Boston University’s Metcalf Trustees Ballroom at One Silber Way.

Souery, who is fourth-year MD/PhD candidate in bioinformatics and computational biology, is the recipient of the BUWG Katherine Connor McLaughlin Award.

“I am incredibly honored to have received the Katherine Connor McLaughlin Award,” she said. “This scholarship will make it possible for me to attend conferences with full funding throughout my MD and PhD training in the BU Bioinformatics Program so I can continue sharing my research findings with both the scientific and medical community.”

According to Tom Tullius, director of the Bioinformatics Program at BU Computing & Data Sciences, Souery’s dissertation work focuses on applying cutting-edge computational research to understudied lung diseases. “This award will help Whitney to communicate her research to the public as she prepares for a career in treating patients as a pulmonologist and bioinformatician,” he said.

Souery, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M University, said she hopes her work can help identify new treatments with improved disease targetability, ultimately improving patient outcomes. 

Xu is a PhD student in Computing & Data Sciences at CDS, who is currently working with Professor Vijaya B. Kolachalama, conducting research on computation-assisted methods to help with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Her research focuses on graph representation learning, especially in clinical settings, to improve diagnostic accuracy, efficiency, and interpretability.

“I am also beyond grateful for the financial support from the award, which will help me with access to a wider array of data and computing services,” Xu said. “They are crucial to my research and I hope to build more generalizable solutions across diverse populations.”

Before joining CDS, Xu received her BS in Finance from Zhejiang University, and MS in Mathematical Finance from BU, and finished the first, two years of PhD at Questrom School of Business.

Professor Kolachalama is pleased to see Xu and her work uplifted by the BU Women’s Guild.

“The BU Women’s Guild Award is ideal for Lingyi, providing opportunities to network and engage with experts at various conferences, which will enrich her research and professional growth,” he said.

Since 1977, the BU Women's Guild has awarded over $800,000 in scholarships to 400 Boston University graduate student awardees. This year, the BUWG awarded $257,500 to 55 students—an increase of $120,000 and 20 students over last year.

“The BUWG embodies community and is dedicated to uplifting the scholarly, intellectual, and professional contributions of BU women graduate students,” said CDS Associate Provost Azer Bestavros. “Our CDS community is committed to the same mission. We are incredibly proud of Whitney and Lingyi. They are truly deserving of these honors.”

BUWG Awards Ceremony Co-chairs Elizabeth Flagg and Krystie Dickson called all recipients "remarkable" because, through their work and research, they are looking to "make the world a better place."

“The awards are a way for BUWG members and friends to show, as a community, that we believe in these talented students and see great promise in their work,” said Flagg. “Today, the BUWG is having a bigger impact, both in terms of number of recipients and award dollars.  It is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved.” Read more about the BUWG 2024 scholarship awardees.

Learn more about the master's in data science, online master's in data science, and the Bioinformatics program.

- Maureen McCarthy, CDS Director of Communications