New Grant Supports Research Mentoring at Meredith
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has awarded Meredith College $46,688 over three years to support its undergraduate research mentoring program with neighboring research institutions. Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Erin Lindquist is the principal investigator for the grant. Funding for the first year is in the amount of $12,038 and will support research experiences for Meredith College undergraduate students under the mentorship of postdoctoral associates at Duke University.
Meredith began a pilot program in 2009 as a result of a mentoring relationship in Duke University’s Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Program between Lindquist and her mentee Susan Smith. Meredith’s program gives postdoctoral associates the opportunity to develop their skills as mentors of undergraduate research. Although Meredith provides diverse research opportunities for its undergraduate students on its campus, outside research experiences give the women an opportunity to practice advanced research skills under the mentorship of discipline-specific experts which better prepares them for graduate school and professional careers. It is planned that the program will be expanded from Duke University to other research sites such as the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the second and third year of the grant.
Students will commit at least 10 hours of research per week and receive academic credit for their participation during spring semesters. Students who have completed the spring semester research experience successfully will have the opportunity to apply for research stipends to continue their research with their mentors in the summer. The funding will support stipends for mentor researchers, student summer research stipends, Meredith faculty stipends for faculty who consult with mentors, and travel for students. Meredith will provide training for mentors, workshop fees, and some additional travel expenses.
Of the five students who participated in the program in Spring 2009, three have already entered graduate school including the doctoral program in biochemistry at Wake Forest University, the masters program in clinical research at Campbell University, and the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) program at Midwestern University. One student has already had a manuscript accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal.
The 2011 mentor – student research pairs for the Duke Meredith program are the following:
• Marcelo Ardón, Department of Biology, is mentoring Jessie Breazeale;
With funding provided by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, women at Meredith will have an expanded opportunity to enter into the greatly needed STEM professions in the U.S.