Heather M. Menzie Endowed Excellence Fund for FRI

Apr 17, 2016 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

Heather Menzie was born in 1991 in Bakersfield, Calif., to Bob and Janet Menzie. The Menzie family, along with Heather’s two sisters, Morgan and Amanda, moved to Katy, Texas, in 2001. Heather graduated from Cinco Ranch High School in 2009. While at Cinco Ranch, she was a four-year letterman on the varsity swim team and played violin in the orchestra, earning the distinction of concertmaster her senior year.
Heather M. Menzie
Heather’s passion for science brought her to UT Austin, specifically for the Freshman Research Initiative. She spent many hours in her FRI lab, the Viral Evolution Stream, and was deeply committed to the program. After having gained so much personally from the program, she gave back to FRI as a mentor and ultimately served as a teaching assistant. In December 2012, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. While a student at UT, Heather played violin for eight semesters in the University Orchestra, volunteered as an actress performing Shakespeare plays at Austin area schools, and attended as many Longhorn athletic events as possible.
Heather M. Menzie
Although Heather knew from an early age that she would be a scientist, the FRI helped launch her career, and she went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSC). She was researching the Sudan virus in the Texas Biomedical Research Institute Biohazard IV Laboratory. One of Heather’s dreams was to be published in her research field, and the Journal of Infectious Disease published an article she co-authored and contributed to research in April 2015: Genetic Changes at Glycoprotein Editing Site Associated with Serial Passage of Sudan Virus, one month before her unexpected death. Heather Menzie died tragically in an automobile accident on May 13, 2015, a few weeks after passing her qualifying exams at UTHSC and one month before she was to be married.

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