In November 2018, Avery was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. The shock of the diagnosis soon turned to grief, as she passed away four months later.
As McCurdy came to grips with losing his colleague and companion, he sought to carry on Avery’s legacy. To this end, he helped endow the Dr. Bonnie Avery Advancing Women in Pharmaceutical Sciences Fellowship fund in the UF College of Pharmacy. The fellowship supports Ph.D. candidates in pharmacy, particularly women — a cause close to Avery’s heart, and now McCurdy’s.
“She was the definition of a lifelong learner,” McCurdy said. “And above all, a champion of women in the sciences.”
When it came time to award Avery’s inaugural fellowship in 2020 there were multiple nominees, but one stood out above the rest — Lisa Wilson. The selection committee was impressed by her commitment to teaching students, particularly young women, about science.
“The fellowship came as a total surprise to me,” Wilson said. “But with the surprise came the honor of carrying Dr. Avery’s legacy on through this award. I hope I make her proud as a woman in science.”