Diversity & Outreach News

Surafel Argaw, Kwasi Amofa, and Marc Shuler Win 2016 EBICS Annual Retreat's REU Poster Awards

Sep 12 2016 | REU Program

Aug. 2, 2016 - Congratulations to Surafel Argaw, Kwasi Amofa, and Marc Shuler for winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes respectively at the REU Poster Presentations during the 2016 EBICS Annual Retreat! Sufafel, Kwasi, and Marc entered their EBICS REU journeys with different backgrounds of lab experience, but by the end of their 10-weeks, all returned to their home institutions similarly affected: encouraged by their expanded skill sets, inspired by the work and advice of their mentors and PIs, and grateful for the opportunities and the network afforded to them through the EBICS community.

Surafel and Marc both worked in Platt Lab this summer. Surafel, an electrical and computer engineering major, attended Georgia Perimeter Community College for the first two years of his undergraduate studies, but will start his junior year at Georgia Tech in Fall 2016. His EBICS REU experience amplified his excitement to attend Georgia Tech and continue working in Platt Lab: "Dr. Platt and my mentors have worked hard to make sure that I use all my potential and prepared me well for the final presentation of my topic. I was so surprised on the fact that I won the competition because I saw many of other students projects displayed. But I am grateful and thankful that my work was selected." 

Marc, a bioengineering major starting his junior year at Pennsylvania State University, was first introduced to EBICS when he worked in Platt Lab in summer 2015. His success at the REU Poster Presentations further motivates him to work hard: "The program has granted me the opportunity to conduct high quality research and think critically about my results. I also sharpened my ability to effectively communicate and present my research to a variety of audiences. It is rewarding to see my preparation and efforts recognized by the judges, but placing 3rd only makes me more determined and anxious for my next opportunity to take home the gold."

For Kwasi, a biomedical engineering major starting his senior year at Western New England University, EBICS REU in the Hammond and Griffith labs was his first-ever REU experience. His 2nd place recognition at the Poster Presentations represents his perseverance through a steep learning curve. From learning how to pipette to the recent news of his selection to present at 2016 BMES, Kwasi reflects on the impact of this summer on his trajectory: "Prior to this experience, pursuing a PhD in Biological or Biomedical Engineering was not an option I was considering. I could not thank [Marianna Sofman] enough for great guidance and support to help me quickly learn the ropes within this field of research. I plan on building upon everything I have learned from this experience to grow as a scientist and help to open doors to others just as the EBICS program has done for me."

Surafel, Marc, and Kwasi are all eager to continue the work they started this summer in their future studies, and all plan on pursuing PhDs in their respective fields.

UIUC REU presents their posters at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium

Sep 12 2016 | REU Program

July 21-22, 2016 - EBICS REU students at Illinois participated in the Illinois Summer Research Symposium (ISRS). This annual event brings together nine summer research programs that support the inclusion and participation of students from U.S. populations underrepresented in graduate study. All members of UIUC REU presented their research through presentations and poster sessions and participated in networking and social activities. The ISRS draws more than 120 students from across a variety of disciplines.

MIT REU engages in Poster Session and Closing Luncheon of 30th Annual MIT Summer Research Programs

Sep 12 2016 | REU Program

Aug. 4, 2016 - Upon returning from the 2016 EBICS Annual Retreat, MIT REU immediately began preparations to present their research two days later at the 30th Annual MIT Summer Research Programs Poster Session. 103 students across 4 summer research programs at MIT, including EBICS, discussed their research with, and fielded questions from, a diverse audience of peers, faculty, mentors, graduate students, distinguished guests, staff, and program alumni that altogether formed an audience of ~250 guests. At the Closing Luncheon, Minerva Marcano had the honor of introducing the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Christopher Jones, who served as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Education at MIT for nearly a decade.

Sep 12 2016 | Diversity & Outreach

Aug. 14, 2016 - As a freshman, Cali joined Prof. Stice's lab to work on the development of a neural tube injury model in chickens incorporating mouse pluripotent stem cells, then spent summer 2015 after her sophomore year at MIT in Prof. Kamm's lab to research a microfluidics platform for the study of neuromuscular junction formation. In her profile for UGA's "Amazing Students" column, Cali expresses gratitude to the Stice and Kamm labs for the skill-building opportunities they provided her, and commends Dr. Stice's mentorship throughout her time at UGA. Now starting her senior year, Cali plans on attending medical school in Fall 2017.

MIT EBICS REU cultivates "Chalk Talk" best practices at Novartis

Jul 14 2016 | REU Program

July 5, 2016 - MIT EBICS REU started off their Week 5 with a science overview and industry tour of Novartis. They impressed organizers of Novartis's highly competitive Summer Scholars program with their thoughtful and active participation during the Lunch Seminar discussing best practices in presenting Chalk Talks. Aside from working on their individual projects alongside their mentors, REUs have also explored the "Journey to the Ph.D." through a workshop with MIT faculty from a sampling of departments, and a lunch networking event with a diverse group of Biological Engineering graduate students.


Georgia Tech EBICS REU tours Axion Biosystems

Jul 14 2016 | REU Program

June 29, 2016 - After 6 weeks of diving into research, cell-culturing and proposal writing, the EBICS REU students at Georgia Tech decided to kick back for some rest and relaxation at the campus student center where they enjoyed pizza, games, and bonding with one another. The group went on their first industry tour to Axion Biosystems in Atlanta, in which some described the experience as "eye-opening," giving them a different perspective on what it would be like to work in industry versus academia. The students have often expressed a high level of gratitude for the overall experience of being an EBICS REU student and the opportunities it affords.  The next four weeks will no doubt be more intense as the students prepare for their final essays and oral/poster presentations before attending the EBICS retreat.

UIUC EBICS REU hosts STEM outreach activity for Urbana, IL community

Jul 14 2016 | REU Program

May 28, 2016 - The University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign EBICS REU students and research team leader hosted a STEM educational booth at the Illinois Farmers' Market in Urbana, IL from 8:00am - 12:00pm on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Visitors to the booth designed shapes with clay and bb-gun pellets to either race them to the bottom of the water tank or keep them afloat - all while learning surface tension science!  Thank you to Brian Williams, EBICS trainee, for organizing the demonstrations on surface tension and the sink tank race!

Georgia Tech welcomes its fourth cohort of Project ENGAGES

Jul 14 2016 | Project ENGAGE

June 1, 2016 - Georgia Tech welcomed the fourth cohort of Project ENGAGES research scholars on June 1, 2016. After two weeks of intense preparation through the program's "cell biology boot-camp," the 12 new high school students were able to participate in a lab speed-dating event to be matched with a mentor for the duration of the year. The end result was phenomenal and all of the students and mentors were extremely happy with their choices. The students finished boot-camp as of June 28, and are now working full-time in a lab with their respective mentor. In addition to research, the remainder of the summer will include industry tours, intense SAT/ACT prep, professional development and a finale oral and poster presentation.

Apr 07 2016 | Diversity & Outreach

April 1, 2016 - Catherine "Cali" Callaway, a junior at University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and pursuing a combined master's degree in artificial intelligence. She aims to earn a doctorate and a medical degree and to pursue a career conducting research in regenerative bioscience. Callaway has spent extensive time in a laboratory through UGA's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, working with Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steven Stice, director of the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center, as well as during an intensive summer research experience for undergrads (REU) at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Feb 19 2015 | REU Program

The annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), sponsored by the American Physical Society, aims to promote awareness of the issues that women face while pursuing a career in physics, as well as to encourage undergraduate majors to continue on in the study of physics. This year’s talks ranged from condensed matter physics research to issues facing female scientists, with an emphasis placed on the path from undergraduate studies to a career in research throughout all of the talks. The conference lasted three days, culminating in a poster session.

The conference was equal parts bonding with fellow undergraduates, meeting amazing female physicists and role models, learning about the fascinating research they conduct, and hearing about the challenges they and we do and will face. The faculty speakers were not only inspiring but also gave incredibly useful practical advice for day-to-day life. The sense of camaraderie and shared experience between students despite diversity was very exciting. The conference reinforced her ambition of pursuing a career in science and increased a motivation to take concrete steps towards her goals. With the knowledge of how gender bias manifests in individuals and affects women in STEM and with the connections made at the CUWiP conference, Isabel feels more prepared to take on challenges and succeed academically and in her career!

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