June 7, 2013


Fri June 7, 2013

Yolanda Mikka Nicola Foster nee Hillocks was born to Joel and Cheryl Hillocks on Monday, December 6, 1982 in St Vincent and the Grenadines. She started her educational journey at the YMCA at 6 months old for day care and pre-school. At age 5, she attended the Richmond Hill Government School. At age 11, she started secondary school at the St Vincent Girls’ High School, where she pursued a focus in the sciences. Yolanda graduated from high school in 1999, at age 16, having obtained 9 CXC (Caribbean Council Examinations) passes. Yolanda immigrated to the USA in summer 1999 and started Brooklyn College at age 17 in January 2000, where she pursued a major in Psychology and was a MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Scholar. During this time, she conducted research in a biology lab at Brooklyn College and attended the minority summer internship program at Johns Hopkins University in 2003. Yolanda graduated from Brooklyn College in June 2004.

After graduating from Brooklyn College, Yolanda began the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. There, she worked in a biochemistry and neuroscience lab and took graduate courses in preparation for graduate studies. Following PREP, Yolanda was admitted to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for the Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology. At Hopkins, she conducted her dissertation work in a breast cancer research lab. On Thursday, May 23, 2013, Yolanda graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with her doctorate in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, marking the culmination of her educational journey.

Yolanda would like to thank her family, friends and previous teachers at the various levels who have always believed in her and encouraged her to focus on her studies.