ASU Researcher Selected as Pay It Forward Winner

News Date
q. matthews and brennetta crenshaw

Dr. Qiana Matthews, standing, with her doctoral student Brennetta Crenshaw.


By Hazel Scott/ASU

Alabama News Network and the Vance Law Firm have honored Alabama State University researcher Dr. Qiana Matthews, associate professor in the Microbiology Ph.D. program, for her dedication to her students and her passion for research.

Matthews was selected the Pay It Forward winner, a contest sponsored by the network and law firm.  Each week sponsors select a new winner, who must be an individual who unselfishly does good work in the community or their profession. Matthews was surprised to be announced on the Alabama News Network as a winner.

 “I was really excited and honored.  It is of the utmost importance when a student nominates you for something like that. So, coming from a student or colleague that’s really special,” Matthews emphasized.

Brennetta Crenshaw, a doctoral student in Microbiology, nominated Matthews for the “major impact she has had on countless students.”

 “She is an all-around individual. She always opens her doors, whether it’s her office or lab door, to high school, undergraduate and graduate students. She is passionate about research. Since she has been at Alabama State, the graduation rate for our graduate students has increased tremendously,” said Crenshaw, who is one of Matthews' students.

Since 2016, Matthews has been mentoring students. “Since I’ve been here at Alabama State, I’ve graduated two doctoral students and one master's student. The master's student has gone on to medical school and the Ph.D. students are doing fellowships with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) currently.”  

Crenshaw, who started working under Matthews in 2017, said she is grateful that Matthews is her professor.

“Since I’ve been in her lab, she has taught me about time management and more. I have 12 (scientific) publications under her, and in  my first year….she introduced me to scientific writing. We wrote the first chapter of a book and wrote several review articles.  She also taught me grant writing; so, I am able to write grants to provide support for my research study for which I’m an Alabama EPSCoR  (Established  Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) recipient, which is part of its Graduate Research Scholars Program.  We recently applied for third-year funding,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw noted that Matthews shows dedication to each one of her students.

A virologist by training, Matthews does a great deal of virus research in her lab, specifically developing gene therapy models and safe and effective vaccines for infectious diseases. She most recently received funding to start groundbreaking research to combat COVID-19 and to continue her research on eradicating the common cold virus.

“We are excited about doing research in coronavirus, and we hope it helps find some type of treatment or therapies for what we are experiencing now with the pandemic.”

Matthews emphasized that being recruited to ASU has been one of the highlights of her career. “To mentor students and let them go on to higher realms of academic study is why we are doing the work.”

For her efforts, The Vance Law Firm and the Alabama News Network presented Matthews with $333.