By Leaps and Bounds

Aim high. In the classroom, in the lab and on the field. Dolphurs Hayes began pole-vaulting his freshman year of high school after he realized he wasn’t quite fast enough for football. He took to launching himself over a bar with relative ease. By his senior year, he was ranked second in the state of Georgia.

At the same time, Hayes was excelling in the classroom. “Since elementary school, I’ve been good at science. When I got to high school, I had my first biology class and I knew that was it.”

With his outstanding grades and impressive pole-vaulting record, Hayes received scholarships that have taken him through all four years of college. He has taken full advantage of the MARC U-STAR program, which supports student research opportunities.

He attended two national research conferences, presenting the work done by Hayes and his mentor, Cecil Jones, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at SSU. They are exploring the outcomes of photodynamic therapy, a cancer treatment that works on the mitochondrial level.


In 2013 he worked with Pitt Med on isolating stem cells in tendons, proving that these special cells do exist in fully-grown organisms outside of bone marrow. In 2014 he spent the summer at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center conducting clinical trials on a new nanoparticle treatment for glioblastoma.

He has two acceptance letters for one-year master’s programs in biomedical sciences, preparing him for the MCAT and medical school in the future.

Whether he goes into clinical research or becomes a general practitioner, Hayes plans to coach track and field and jump from time to time. His advice for keeping up with everything: “Look at the bigger picture. What do you want to do in the future?”

Fact Sheet

Major: Biology

Hometown: Albany, Ga.

High School: Westover High School

3.78 GPA

MEAC Pole-Vaulting Champion: 2013, 2014, 2016 (indoor)

Personal Record – 15’7”

This article first appeared in Impressions, Fall 2016