New program bridges gap between aspirations and science careers
March 29, 2010 | UW Bioengineering
What does it take to become a scientist? About 20 community college students are about to find out thanks to an $804,472 National Institutes of Health grant recently awarded to Eric Chudler.
Chudler, a Bioengineering research associate professor and a long-term champion of student outreach efforts, will lead the five-year Building Bridges to Bioengineering (B3) program to encourage under-represented minority students to enroll in science studies at four-year universities.
B3 stands on the shoulders of Chudler’s previous collaborations with Dr. Wendy Rockhill, interim dean for Science and Math at Seattle Central Community College, Dr. Esmaeel Naeemi , a SCCC science and mathematics faculty member, and Dr. Tekie Mehary, an outreach coordinator with Bioengineering’s UWEB program.
Seattle Central Community College students interested in exploring careers in science will be able to enroll in a new course, “Biotechnology & World Health”, to be taught by Mehary beginning Winter Quarter 2011. They will also attend workshops and seminars to gain experience presenting scientific research to various audiences and writing for technical journals.
A subset of those students will be invited to gain mentored laboratory experiences within Bioengineering labs during the academic school year. They will also get advice on the UW application procedure, writing personal application statements, and presenting posters and findings.
“I think the students will discover that they have what it takes to succeed at the UW,” Chudler said.
“B3 is an opportunity for these students to explore their potential to become scientists; to experience the excitement of discovery. I’ll consider it a success for the program if they decide to transfer to a four-year college to study science, technology, engineering, or math. And it will be a success for the students personally even if they decide research isn’t the career for them.”
Seattle Central Community College has a student population that is diverse in race and age and makes an ideal partner for this outreach project, Chudler said.
He is now looking to faculty to help define the methods, techniques, and knowledge the B3 students will need for successful lab experiences.