A UMBC grad got a shoutout from Dr. Fauci for her work on the coronavirus vaccine. Here’s who she is.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently spoke out about the input of Black scientists in the coronavirus vaccine process and highlighted a Baltimore college graduate’s work.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was quick to give credit to Dr. Barney Graham and his colleague, Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett, and urged Black people, who have been disproportionately infected with and killed by the virus, to trust the vaccine.


In November, an Axios/Ipsos poll showed only 55% of Black Americans said they would take a vaccine if it was proved safe and effective by officials.

“So, the first thing you might want to say to my African American brothers and sisters is that the vaccine that you’re going to be taking was developed by an African American woman,” Fauci said, according to ABC News. “And that is just a fact.”


Corbett is a scientist at the National Institutes of Health and helped develop the Moderna vaccine that has shown to be more than 90% effective in fighting COVID-19.

In this March 3 file photo, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, left, senior research fellow and scientific lead for coronavirus vaccines and immunopathogenesis team in the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, talks with President Donald Trump as he tours the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow.

The 34-year-old graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2008 and double majored in sociology and biology, according to The Business Monthly. She was also in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in college, which provided her a full ride. The program has graduated more than 1,100 students, most of them African Americans, in science and engineering, providing money, academic guidance, research experience, mentoring and a sense of family to underrepresented minorities in a lucrative and highly competitive field.

In addition to Corbett, graduates include the current U.S. surgeon general; research scientists at Google, Intel, the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the NSA; and professors at Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins and other top universities.

While at UMBC, The Business Monthly said, Corbett was also involved in the university’s NIH Undergraduate Scholars Program. After graduation, she went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she got her doctorate in microbiology and immunology. Corbett then joined the NIH’s Vaccine Research Centre in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow.

Corbett first popped into the spotlight in March when she was one of several scientists who talked with President Donald Trump at the NIH. She also is active on social media and has been critical of Trump at times, such as when she criticized criticizing the lack of diversity on his coronavirus task force, The Washington Post reported.