Black History in the Making: Keven Stonewall
When he was in the fifth grade, Keven Stonewall’s parents gave him a microscope as a Christmas present. At the time, they had no idea that their son’s keen interest in Biology would lead to him discovering an important breakthrough in the cure of a deadly form of cancer.
According to The Cancer Prevention Foundation, Colon cancer is the third most common cancer among African American men and women, and blacks have the highest death rates from the disease. For Stonewall, this harsh reality hit close to home, when, during his freshman year at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, the uncle of a close friend of his died of the disease. It was at that point that he decided he had to do something about it.
While working at a Rush University lab during his senior year in high school, Stonewall discovered an age-related drawback in an experimental vaccine geared toward preventing colon cancer in mice. Through the experiment, scientists found that a special vaccine for older subjects was required, as mentioned by his lab director at Rush University, Carl Ruby.
For his research, Stonewall received many awards, and became a finalist for the Intel International Science and Engineer Fair in 2013. The results of his research was also presented at the National Meeting For the Society for Immuno Therapy of Cancer in Washington, D.C., and he received credit for for his lead in the research process.
Stonewall plans on becoming an oncologist and earning his M.D. and Ph.D, and made the dean’s list both semesters of his freshman year. He also serves as an ambassador to students interested in pursuing STEM majors at universities.
He stated, “I don’t want to only focus on colon cancer. I have a bigger picture in mind. I want to cure cancer, and the more informed I am, the better physician I’ll be.”
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani