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Power Moves: Meet the University City Science Center’s 2022 Nucleus Awards honorees

University City Science Center is hosting its annual Nucleus Awards next month, and as usual, the nonprofit has named honorees for categories relating to its specialties.

There are four 2022 honorees:

Jeff Marrazzo

This year, Jeff Marrazzo, cofounder and former CEO of Spark Therapeutics, is this year’s Commercialization Award honoree. The Science Center noted his private, public and nonprofit sector work, along with the 11 years he built and grew Spark Therapeutics in Philadelphia. In March, the former CEO said he was stepping down, after he’d been slowly transitioning out of his role following the company’s massive sale to Roche in 2019.

The Commercialization Award recognizes those who are “catalysts” in the acceleration of tech transfers and who are developing new ways to transition discoveries to the marketplace.

“Over the course of 11 years, Jeff created and built Spark Therapeutics into the world’s first fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company — from an idea within the walls of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to a private, venture-backed start-up and a publicly traded biotech company, to an independent operating unit within Roche,” the Science Center said.

James Burnett

James Burnett, the executive director of community development financial institution VestedIn, was named as the Science Center’s Capital Award honoree. Burnett has spent 34 years in the financial services industry, and as an adjunct professor at Thomas Jefferson University. In 2020, Burnett joined three partners with the creation of Black Squirrel Collective, a company focused on identifying the challenges businesses have to grow and helping them identify the appropriate resource for their development. He also sits on the board of orgs like the Chamber of Commerce and the PA CDFI Network.

“Mr. Burnett is responsible for managing and growing VestedIn’s impact on small businesses in Greater Philadelphia,” the Science Center said, including through commercial lending and financial education.

Jimmy White IV

Jimmy White IV, the director of engineering for Four Seasons Philadelphia and a professional speaker, earned the Science Center’s Cultivator Award. He served in the US Navy from 2000 to 2006 as a nuclear electrician.

White is involved in many programs, including as a GW Bush Center Veteran Leadership Program scholar, an alumni of the Leadership Philadelphia program, a national award winning youth/veteran advocate with the Travis Manion Foundation, a TEDx speaker, the founder-in-residence for the Venture Cafe’s Proof Positive entrepreneurship cohort, a board member of the Community Partnership School, a member of the Military Veterans in Journalism speaker bureau and mentor, and an inspirational speaker for the Philadelphia Union Foundation IAM Project.

Shannon Morales

And Shannon Morales, founder and CEO of Tribaja, was named the Science Center’s Convene Awardee. The entrepreneur recently took first place at CBK Ventures’ first pitch competition, which came with a $25,000 investment, as she began fundraising for her company. Tribaja’s platform has grown to be a 7,000-member community with more than 150 partnerships geared toward building on-ramps to tech careers for underrepresented professionals.

“Shannon has successfully scaled Tribaja to a global tech talent network that propels the growth of companies such as Lyft, Microsoft, Comcast, and many more,” the Science Center said.

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing