College of Arts and Science Junior aims for career that merges biomedical innovation with social justice

College of Arts & Science junior Ambria Williams, Photo credit: Jonathan King/NYU

Ambria Williams, a junior at New York University’s College of Arts and Science who aims for a career that merges biomedical innovation with social justice, has been named a 2023 Truman Scholar.

Williams, who was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., is committed to supporting historically marginalized communities, combating medical mistrust so that these communities are not further left behind in the face of rapidly advancing medical technologies.

Williams began her academic journey with an interest in the law, participating in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies program, in which students explore contemporary issues through a global perspective.  

During a seminar course on the history of medicine, she wrote a paper on the bioethics of gene editing, which served as the introduction to her current interests in health policy. Later, as a transplant ethics and policy research intern at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, she examined the barriers faced by under-resourced communities in accessing transplant care and developed policy recommendations to reduce medical mistrust in minoritized communities. She is currently building on this research in an independent research project exploring the ways that superhero science fiction narratives can be used to inform and demystify emerging medical technologies for marginalized communities.  

Williams, particularly interested in bridging the gap between legal research and practice and in creating pathways for underrepresented students into careers in the law, is president of the NYU Law Cooperative. In this role, she has spearheaded programs to introduce low-income and first-generation students to careers in law. As director of programming for the Undergraduate Law Society, Williams oversees two mentorship programs that pair first- and second-year undergraduates with NYU alumni who are currently attending law school. In addition, during a semester at NYU’s Washington, D.C. academic site, she oversaw the DC Dialogues program, planning panels of local public service professionals around contemporary social issues. 

Williams—one of the inaugural recipients of a Voyager Scholarship, a program created by Michelle and Barack Obama and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to help shape the next generation of young public service leaders who are poised to solve the world’s most complex and pressing challenges—is also vice chair of the Public Policy Student Board, where she continues her outreach and advocacy work, helping students get hands-on experience with policy analysis.  

As one of 62 Truman Scholars for 2023, Williams will receive $30,000, which she will use to attend law school.

An image of Williams is available on Google Drive (photo credit: Jonathan King/NYU).

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai and has 12 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts and sciences, engineering, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and professional studies, among other areas.


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