The Science Scholarship Program in the College of Science and Technology is giving some undergraduate students the opportunity to become deeply involved with lab work and research projects earlier in their college careers.
CST started the program in preparation for high-achieving incoming students, as well as President’s and Provost’s Scholars that require a higher-caliber curriculum.
Eligible students who are President’s or Provost’s Scholars were sent an email from CST with an application, encouraging them to apply.
Rose McGinnis, the director of the Student Career Assistance Center, said the program is designed to help chosen students be better prepared for the next level of their education, whether it’s graduate school, professional school or medical school.
“Our college wanted to make sure we are preparing students to be ready to apply for very high-achieving scholarships such as Goldwater, Marshall, Rhodes and all of those very prestigious scholarships that are available,” McGinnis said. “In order for students to be qualified to do that, they need to be identified upon entry and need to be counseled, mentored and provided a path that lets them be fully qualified come their sophomore and junior year when they begin to apply.”
Ideally, McGinnis said CST looks for students interested in non-medical careers, namely comprehensive research projects.
“We had about 59 students apply, and we had a Science Scholar Committee made up of a representative from each of our departments within our college, and we reviewed all those applications, which was really tricky because it’s like reading 59 of the best of the best of the best, so it was really very difficult to make decisions,” McGinnis said.
In the end, 11 students were selected to participate in the program, spanning multiple majors within CST. During the first semester, students are monitored to be sure they are getting acclimated to their schedules, as well as actively participating in colloquiums and seminars that CST offers.
Spanish and biology double-major Katey Steinberg found out last February that she was selected for the program.
“I had never really done any research before the Science Scholars Program, and now I can really find my way around a lab,” Steinberg said. “In my lab, I am doing things that I have yet to learn in my classes, so when I eventually come across them in my classes I will have a bit of a leg up with the material.”
Steinberg is involved in a biochemistry research project with Allen Nicholson, a biology department chairperson, studying nanomedicine and early disease detection through the use of advanced microscopes.
Students within the program are required to be a part of the Owl to Owl Alumni/Student Mentoring Program, which pairs CST students with successful CST alumni. Steinberg was placed with former physician Neil Phillips, who she said is a “scholar, an incredible mentor and a great person for me to know.”
Through the program, Steinberg will shadow and observe a hematology lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Steinberg is also involved in a project that is done through a partnership with the University of Udine in northern Italy, where she will be furthering her project this summer with Temple biology professor Matteo Castronovo.
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